Local governments have a responsibility to provide particular services to the community. Other services are the responsibility of the state and federal governments. Both the federal and state governments fund local governments to provide services. Councils may also gain revenue from rates and charges. The responsibilities of the federal government are established under the Australian Constitution.
Responsibilities of local government include:
- town and land planning
- building approvals
- provision of local roads
- water and sewerage services
- animal control services.
Mayors and Councillors have different roles and responsibilities to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other local government employees. Mayors and councillors make local laws and determine policy and other matters at a strategic level. They are responsible for setting the overall direction of the local government, and are directly responsible to the community for the local government’s performance.
Role Of The CEO
The CEO manages the day-to-day operations of the local government and its employees in accordance with the plans and policies set by the mayor and councillors.
Role of Councillors
The fundamental role of each Councillor is to represent the current and future interests of the residents of the whole local government area. Councillors represent all the community, not just any group of residents or those in one division or the area near where they live.
Councils employ a CEO and other employees to carry out the decisions councillors make in meetings. While councillors are responsible for setting the strategic direction for the local government, the CEO and other employees are responsible for delivering that strategy.
Councillors have limited interactions with Council employees. In most cases, the Mayor and Councillors cannot direct or give instructions to employees, except
the Mayor who is able to direct the CEO only. If a Councillor needs any information from an employee, they must to follow the acceptable request guidelines of the Council.
The responsibilities of Councillors are to:
- participate in council meetings to make decisions by consensus with the other Councillors for the good of the whole council area
- provide leadership focusing on strategic matters, rather than being involved in everyday matters like maintenance requests or logging Council jobs
- shape the future of the community by adopting a development planning scheme that sets out how land in the Council area can be used and rules for developers
- be responsible to the community for making sure the Council is performing well
- make decisions for the benefit of the whole community
- make local laws on matters such as parking and dog registration.
Role Of Mayors
The Mayor has the same responsibilities as a Councillor, as well as:
- lead and manage Council meetings
- decide any tied votes at Council meetings by making a casting vote
- represent Council and the community at ceremonial functions
- lead and manage the CEO to ensure Council decisions are implemented in accordance with the policies of the local government.
Councillors are responsible for two broad areas of performance and compliance. This requires that Councillors perform the following essential functions:
- Strategic direction — participate with management in setting policies, goals, strategies and performance targets for the organisation to meet both legislative and community expectations.
- Resources — make available to management the resources to achieve the strategic plan — the money, management, manpower and materials, the CEO’s appointment and a succession plan.
- Performance — monitor the organisation’s performance against its strategies and targets.
- Compliance — ensure management has adequate processes in place to comply with legal and accounting requirements.
- Risk — ensure management has identified risks to which the organisation is exposed and suitable processes are in place to manage those risks.
- Accountability to stakeholders — report progress to stakeholders, especially the electorate as their appointed representatives, and align the collective interests of community, Council, management and employees.
Councillors have duties under the Local Government Act and duties arising from the organisation’s activities. Duties are not owed to any particular group of community members, but to the community as a whole.
To discharge this duty a government is required to act in good faith on behalf of the community and not to benefit from its elected role. Conflicts of interest are the most likely triggers of a claim under fiduciary duty law. This is closely followed by negligence.
These duties are similar to those applied to directors of commercial corporations but may have harsher penalties if a breach is proven. The duties include:
- duty to act honestly
- duty to act with due diligence
- duty to safeguard information
- duty not to misuse position.
- area must not exceed 1m2
- must not be erected prior to an election date being announced
- must be removed within seven days after an election
- must be temporary or portable
- where displayed on a local government-controlled area or road, must not obstruct pedestrian movement or other uses of the area where the advertising device is being displayed
- if on a local government-controlled area or road must not be attached to, or supported by, a tree, scrub or similar vegetation that is in its natural state
- must not be attached to local government infrastructure or sign
- must not be situated on the paved area of the road or on a traffic island
- must be structurally sound and kept in good order and free from graffiti.
In addition, the installation, erection and display must not be likely to:
- harm public health and safety
- cause property damage to public infrastructure
- cause a nuisance
- overhang a local government-controlled area e.g. a footpath, without providing a minimum clearance of 2.4m between the ground or constructed footpath and the lowest part of the advertising device
- cause the distraction of pedestrian or vehicular traffic
- obscure a motorist’s view that affects safe driving, particularly when an advertisement is proposed to be located on or near a street corner, intersection, medium strip or round-about
- cause environmental harm
- be a detrimental impact on the amenity of the area
- cause the unreasonable obstruction of an existing view or vista from any premises.
Non-compliance with the above requirements may result in legal action, including removal and cost recovery. Full details are available in our Local Laws.
Street Stalls & Information Displays
Street stalls generally require a permit and campaigners are encouraged to contact us well in advance to discuss their proposed stalls and apply for a permit. Permit applications will be assessed within 10 business days and we take no responsibility for any delays, inconvenience or losses caused by late applications and consequent late issuing of permits. Campaigners and other interested parties are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with the relevant provisions of our Local Laws.
- Electoral Commission Queensland for information for candidates including election signs.
- Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning for information about local government categories and Councillor remuneration.
- Community Guide to Local Government in Queensland
- Office of the Independent Assessor
- Local Government Association of Queensland
- Queensland Integrity Commissioner
- Boundary review Tablelands Regional Local Government Area