Local Government in New South Wales
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Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Local Government in New South Wales by Jason Arditi
This Briefing Paper looks at the operation of local government in NSW. The paper examines the history and constitutional foundation of local government, together with the salient features of the Local Government Act 1993 and the service and regulatory functions set out by the Act.
The paper commences with a brief snapshot of the facts and figures about local government in NSW.  The paper then identifies the historical framework in which local government was established and traces its development from penal colony through Federation to today.  Consideration is given to the numerous attempts throughout the past 30 years to give local government constitutional recognition, both in the Federal and State Constitutions, together with the reasons for such a move. 
The paper then takes a detailed look at the machinery of the Local Government Act 1993, including how councils are established and operate  –  before assessing the myriad of functions and duties councils have, including council obligations with respect to service delivery and regulatory requirements.  –  A brief survey is then given of some of the offences councils are empowered to create. 
The paper examines the various ways councils are able to generate revenue and the type of expenditure councils incur.  –  Lastly, the paper touches on the regulation of councils and councillors and the various integrity and transparency requirements the Local Government Act 1993 and other legislative instruments impose on councils.