Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Obituary for Peter Woods OAM

13 July 2022


It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Peter Woods OAM. He was a CLGF Board Member for many years. He made a great contribution to our work, but also to forwarding the cause of local government, democracy and good governance on a global basis. He was also a very good friend to those of us who worked with him, a pleasure to know, and he will be very much missed. We have asked CLGF Secretary-General Emeritus, Carl Wright, to provide an obituary on behalf of the organisation.



I first met Peter Woods in 1994-95 when we were in the process of setting up CLGF, to which he gave much support and encouragement, going on to serve on our Board for ten years until 2004. I recall, one of his first assignments on behalf CLGF was in South Africa, to advise the newly established non-racial local governments and it was, in part, this mission which led to the concept of ‘spheres of government’ finding its way into the South African constitution.


Peter had, by then, already had a very distinguished local government career, both in Australia, where he was councillor and mayor for 26 years, President of the influential New South Wales Local Government Association for 12 years, and President and Board member of the Australian Local Government Association for 14 years. He also served as Vice President of the International Union of Local Authorities and President of its Asia-Pacific section, then proceeding to be Secretary-General and subsequently Ambassador of the Asia-Pacific section of the new global United Cities and Local Governments after 2004.


Peter was a forceful and, at times, controversial politician, for example in his relations with countries like Russia and North Korea. He was however a committed internationalist and truly ‘global citizen’, someone wholly dedicated to the cause of local democracy and achieving a better and more equal society everywhere. He also had a wicked sense of humour which I was able to share in on numerous occasions.

Peter Woods passed away in June after serious illness; he leaves behind his wife Joyce and his daughter Rebecca. He will be much missed across the world.



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