Understanding your council
It’s your typical day off – it’s not even lunchtime and you’ve already been for a swim at the beach or pool, enjoyed a walk along the local jetty or in your local park, and are heading home, riding along the roads and bike paths. You call into the library, log on to the internet, or borrow some books and CD’s....continuing home, you pass a game of footy at the local sports field, where people are making use of the BBQ facilities to cook up a quick lunch, while kids play in the adjacent playground.
All of these services and community facilities - plus many more - make up the vast range of services provided by your local council in direct response to the needs and priorities of your local community.
Councils' responsibilities have steadily expanded over the decades, due to increased demand and expectation for local services. Local councils are providing vital economic, social and environmental support for all Queensland communities.
Did you know?
Local councils in Queensland spend approximately $1.8 billion on community amenities, housing, public safety programs, educational and health services each year.
Whether a service is a legislative requirement of councils, or is provided by local choice, the Local Government Act requires that councils are responsive to the needs, interests and aspirations of individuals and groups within their communities.
Councils sometimes work with the State Government, and their decisions may be subject to advice and direction from the State. Additionally, a council's geographical location, size, economic development and growth plans, and population profile all come into play when making the best possible decisions for the community.
Some services councils are required to provide by legislation include:
- planning, development and building assessment
- environmental health services, such as monitoring cooling towers for Legionnaire's Disease
- fire prevention (some building inspection, and some bushfire prevention planning functions are a duty, others are discretionary)
- dog and cat management
- administrative requirements such as preparing strategic plans for the area, maintaining an office, employing a chief executive officer and supporting the elected Council.
Looking after the community
Community services to enhance the health and wellbeing of individuals and families are an important part of a council's activities.
Specialist support and services for CALD residents, young people through youth development programs, as well as providing community and individual support to individuals and families with a disability are just a few of the many community services provided by local councils.
Furthermore, councils provide the necessary social infrastructure to assist various community groups and associations, and are responsible for the maintenance of parks, public spaces and cultural assets.
Visit your council's website to find out what services they provide and what is happening in your community.
How can you get involved?
Councils represent the interests of everyone in the community, so it is important for councils to work together with their community to decide what is needed.
There are many ways you can participate, even if you are not a councillor or an employee of council. You can attend council meetings, inspect public documents such as the corporate plan, or discuss your ideas with your local councillor. Contact your council to see how you can help influence the growth and prosperity of your community.