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Chapter 1: Local Governance in Australia

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Constitutional responsibility for Local Government lies with States and Territories, which provide the legal framework for councils' operations. As a result, there are significant differences in the responsibilities of councils and in the State systems for overseeing them and the services they deliver.

The Commonwealth Government recognises that improving the capacity of Local Government to deliver services and enhancing the performance of Local Government is of significant national benefit. The Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 is the primary mechanism established by the Commonwealth to facilitate these goals.

Local Government roles

State legislation provides few limits on what services Local Government can provide. In broad terms, Local Government has a number of roles:

  • a governance role
  • an advocacy role
  • a service delivery role
  • a planning and community development role
  • a regulatory role.

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Local Government functions

Councils conduct business and provide services according to local needs and the requirements of the various Local Government Acts. Examples of Local Government functions and services include:

  • engineering (public works design, construction and maintenance - for example, roads, bridges, footpaths, drainage, cleaning, waste collection and management)
  • recreation (golf courses, swimming pools, sports courts, recreation centres, halls, kiosks, camping grounds and caravan parks)
  • health (water sampling, food sampling, immunisation, toilets, noise control, meat inspection and animal control)
  • community services (child care, elderly care and accommodation, refuge facilities, meals on wheels, counselling and welfare)
  • building (inspection, licensing, certification and enforcement)
  • planning and development approval
  • administration (aerodromes, quarries, cemeteries, parking stations and street parking)
  • cultural/educational (libraries, art galleries and museums)
  • in some States, water and sewerage
  • other (abattoirs, sale-yards, markets and group purchasing schemes).

Unlike Local Governments in the United Kingdom and the United States, Local Government in Australia is not formally recognised as being responsible for services such as education, public housing and policing, which are largely State/Territory or Commonwealth responsibilities.

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Local Government overview

Local Government expenditure across Australia in 2000-01 was almost $16 billion, 2.4 per cent of GDP.

In 2001-02, 722 local governing bodies were eligible for financial assistance grants. Under the Australian Classification of Local Government (ACLG) system, 579 of the councils, or some 80 per cent, are categorised as 'regional' or 'rural' (see Table 1.1 and additional information on the ACLG at Appendix F).

Table 1.1 Distribution of urban, regional and rural local governing bodies1 (no. and %) by State, 2001-02

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

NT

Total


Urban

44

33

14

29

19

2

2

143

Per cent of total

25

42

9

20

26

7

3

20

Regional and rural

131

46

143

113

55

27

64

579

Per cent of total

75

58

91

80

74

93

97

80


Total

175

79

157

142

74

29

66

722

Note: 1 Includes all local governing bodies that received financial assistance grant funding in 2001-02.

Over the 81 years from 1910 to 1991, the number of councils in Australia fell by over 20 per cent.1 In the ten years following 1991, council numbers fell by a further 25 per cent (see Table 1.2).

1 K Sproats, Comparisons of agendas and processes in Australian Local Government, paper presented to the Local Government on Queensland Centenary Conference, August 1996, p. 5

Table 1.2 Local Government numbers 1910-2001

State

Councils
19102

Councils
19912

Per cent change
1910-91

Councils
Sept 20013

Per cent change
1991-2001


NSW

324

176

-45.7

172

-2.3

Vic

206

210

1.9

79

-62.4

Qld

164

134

-18.3

125

-6.7

WA

147

138

-6.1

142

2.9

SA

175

122

-30.3

68

-44.3

Tas

51

46

-9.8

29

-37.0

NT

n/a

n/a

n/a

36

n/a


Total

1 067

826

-22.6

6151

-25.5

Note:
1. The September 2001 total Council number does not include the 36 NT Councils.

Sources:
2. Sproats 1996, p. 5.
3. National Office of Local Government from information provided by State Local Government associations and individual councils (for consistency, only councils established under State Local Government specific legislation are included. Local government bodies in receipt of Federal Government financial assistance grants that are established under separate State legislation or declared by the Federal Minister are excluded).

The decline in the number of councils is largely due to increasing recognition that larger councils have a more secure and adequate financial base and that larger councils have better service delivery economies of scale.

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Employees

In February 2001 the Local Government sector employed an estimated 145 000 people. The number increased from 140 000 in February 1999 although employment levels in earlier years have been higher (148 000 in February 1997; see Table 1.3).

Table 1.3 Local Government employment

State

Population1
'000

Employees2
'000

Population served
per employee
Feb '01

'Feb 97

'Feb 99

'Feb 01


NSW

6 371.7

45.4

45.0

46.3

138

Vic

4 645.0

38.1

31.5

33.0

141

Qld

3 655.1

36.5

36.0

38.0

96

WA

1 851.3

13.6

13.5

13.5

137

SA

1 467.3

8.2

8.0

7.9

186

Tas

456.7

4.2

3.7

3.9

117

NT

210.7

1.9

2.5

2.5

84


Total

18 657.8

148.0

140.1

145.2

128

Sources:
1 Population data from Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Australian demographic statistics, cat. no. 3101.0, March quarter.
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Employed wage and salary earners, Australia: trend series, cat. no. 6248.0, March.

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Population

Table 1.4 shows that across all States, the average population for local governing bodies in 2001-02 was almost 26 400. However, 50 per cent of councils have fewer than 6490 residents. Population ranges from 0 for the Roads Trust in NT to 899 604 for Brisbane City Council.

The average population size of councils by State differs markedly, varying from almost 3000 in Northern Territory, where there are many small Indigenous communities, to just over 61 000 in Victoria, the State which underwent significant State Government-imposed structural reform in the mid-1990s.

Table 1.4 shows different characteristics of the distribution of local governing bodies by population within States and across all States. The median is 2 727 in Western Australia and 3 189 in Queensland. This means that 50 per cent of local governing bodies have fewer than 2 727 people in Western Australia and fewer than 3 189 in Queensland.

In the late 1990s, the number of councils in South Australia declined from 118 to 68 as a result of a voluntary structural reform process. Despite this reduction, the median of the population for local governing bodies in South Australia is 8 110, which is less than the median for Tasmania and New South Wales and considerably less than the median for Victoria of 36 780.

Table 1.4 Selected characteristics of the distribution of population of local governing bodies1 by State, 2001-02

State

Number
of bodies

Population of local governing bodies

Minimum

First
quartile2

Median3

Third
quartile4

Maximum

Average
size


NSW

175

58

4 734

13 849

54 459

261 260

37 325

Vic

79

250

16 157

36 780

106 572

193 582

61 129

Qld

157

105

892

3 189

12 302

899 604

22 967

WA

142

141

1 013

2 727

11 433

178 380

13 449

SA

74

76

2 531

8 110

19 205

147 962

20 303

Tas

29

940

5 640

10 941

20 043

62 682

16 216

NT

66

0

271

498

1 036

74 002

2 998


All States

722

0

1 531

6 490

26 256

899 604

26 381

Notes:
1 Includes all local governing bodies that received financial assistance grant funding in 2001-02.
2 The first quartile is the population size at which 25 per cent of councils have smaller populations and 75 per cent have larger populations.
3 The median is the population size at which 50 per cent of councils have smaller populations and 50 per cent have larger populations.
4 The third quartile is the population size at which 75 per cent of councils have smaller populations and 25 per cent have larger populations.

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Area

Table 1.5 provides some of the characteristics of the area of local governing bodies in Australia. It shows that, like population, the area of local governing bodies varies considerably across States.

Table 1.5 Selected characteristics of the distribution of the area of local governing bodies1 by State, 2001-02, in hectares

State

Number
of bodies

Area of local governing bodies

Minimum

First
quartile2

Median3

Third
quartile4

Maximum

Average
size


NSW

175

0

194

2 481

4 328

53 511

4 046

Vic

79

0

114

1 529

4 140

22 093

2 882

Qld

157

0

161

2 200

10 504

117 087

11 048

WA

142

2

853

2 000

6 924

378 533

17 515

SA

74

0

56

984

3 831

8 902

2 107

Tas

29

80

654

1 158

3 556

9 750

2 379

NT

66

0

4

47

153

2 115

143


All States

722

0

94

1 640

4 403

378 533

7 468

Note: See notes for Table 1.4.

Nationally, the average area of local governing bodies is just under 7500 hectares. However, 50 per cent of local governing bodies have an area less than 1640 hectares. The Shire with the largest area is East Pilbara in Western Australia with 378 533 hectares. The table shows that the minimum for many States is 0 hectares. Some local governing bodies are recorded as having no area because their boundaries are not defined (for example, Indigenous community councils) or they do not have a responsibility for providing property services within a particular area of land (Outback Areas Community Development Trust in South Australia).

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Diversity

In addition to size and population, other significant differences between local governing bodies include:

  • range and scale of functions
  • councils' fiscal position (including wide disparity in revenue-raising capacity), resources and skills base
  • physical, economic, social and cultural environments of Local Government areas
  • attitudes and aspirations of local communities
  • structures of power and influence within local communities and the extent to which elected representatives reflect a broad range of opinion
  • State legislative frameworks within which councils operate, including voting rights and electoral systems.

Indigenous councils also are established under different arrangements in each of the States.

Diversity is as great within States as it is between States and goes beyond rural/metropolitan differences. Table 1.6 gives some flavour of this diversity, showing, for a selection of councils, the range of areas, populations, local road lengths, income from rates and financial assistance grants per capita. For example, the population of a metropolitan council such as East Fremantle of 6660 is similar to that of a rural agricultural council like Buloke of 7268 despite the disparity in area: 3 sq km and 8002 sq km respectively.

Total grants per capita in remote areas are significantly higher than urban, regional or rural areas. This can be explained by the need for assistance in accessing services in remote areas such as Murchison in Western Australia with a population of 145 and an area of 43 800 sq km. Per capita grant versus per capita rate income varies significantly. Appendix D lists all councils, the area they cover, their population, their local road length and details of financial assistance grants they receive.

Table 1.6 Characteristics of selected councils, 2001-02

2001-02 actual entitlement

Council

State

Classification

Population

Area
(sq km)

Road
length
(km)

Rate
income
($)

Rate
income
($/capita)

General
purpose
($)

Roads

Total
grant
($)

Grant
per
capita


Monash #

VIC

Metropolitan developed

163570

82

652

37202000

227.44

2,461,774

790,281

3,252,055

19.88

East Fremantle #

WA

Metropolitan developed

6660

3

36

3524509

529.21

100,199

49,771

149,970

22.52

Gosford City

NSW

Urban fringe

160167

940

1036

38498960

240.37

6,242,164

1,431,404

7,673,568

47.91

Adelaide Hills

SA

Urban fringe

37914

796

1102

11372863

299.96

959,777

474,546

1,434,323

37.83

East Gippsland

VIC

Regional town

39083

20946

3460

11476000

293.63

4,475,769

2,684,818

7,160,587

183.21

Glenorchy #

TAS

Regional town

43878

2522

290

25607000

583.60

659,441

798,512

1,457,953

33.23

Roxby Downs #

SA

Regional town

4160

110

34

1289000

309.86

62,826

33,731

96,557

23.21

Surf Coast

VIC

Rural growth

19935

1554

986

7501000

376.27

1,023,638

854,293

1,877,931

94.20

Busselton

WA

Rural growth

22751

1454

955

8779283

385.89

353,420

749,829

1,103,249

48.49

Buloke

VIC

Rural agricultural

7268

8002

5427

3988000

548.71

1,737,663

1,174,447

2,912,110

400.68

Bogan Shire

NSW

Rural agricultural

3219

14611

1410

1368915

425.26

1,188,176

852,664

2,040,840

634.00

Central Darling Shire

NSW

Remote

2354

53509

1602

612633

260.25

1,664,920

920,344

2,585,264

1098.24

Murchison

WA

Remote

145

43800

1721

67869

468.06

775,983

426,822

1,202,805

8295.21

Note: #=Minimum grant

Source: Derived from State Grants Commission unpublished data

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Electorate representation

Councils have several electoral structures, including more than one structure in a single State. They also have widely different levels of representation. Table 1.7 illustrates the great variety across the country. For instance, Victoria has just over twice as many councillors as Tasmania despite a population nearly 10 times greater. The average number of councillors per council varies less markedly from a low of eight in Victoria to a high of 11 in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Not only do the responsibilities of councillors differ, but their terms of office and method of election vary from State to State with election by ward in some States and direct election of mayors in some councils.

Table 1.7 Local Government average councillor numbers and population by State, 2001-02

State

Population

Number of
councils1

Number of
councillors

Average number
of councillors
per councillor

Average population
per council


NSW

6 532 459

172

1 760

10

3 712

Vic

4 828 968

79

594

8

8 130

Qld

3 627 816

134

1 160

9

3 127

WA

1 909 751

142

1 368

10

1 396

SA

1 502 397

69

753

11

1 995

Tas

470 272

29

274

10

1 716

NT

197 590

65

735

11

269


Total

19 069 253

690

6 644

10

2 870

Note:
1 Council numbers from Local Government authorities exclude some non-affiliated local governing bodies and do not cover all 722 local governing bodies that receive financial assistance grants.

Sources: Local Government Associations (November 2002)
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Population Census August 2001

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National representation of Local Government

ALGA and LGMA

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is a federation of local governing body associations from each of Australia's six States and the Northern Territory. Since early 2001 the ALGA membership has included the Australian Capital Territory Government. The association aims to add value, at the national level, to the work of State and Territory associations and their member councils. ALGA represents the interests of Local Government through its participation in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) framework.

The Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) is a professional association of Local Government managers throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific. The LGMA is committed to the development and improvement of Local Government management and the maintenance of high professional and ethical standards.

Council of Australian Governments (COAG)

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is the peak inter-governmental forum in Australia. It comprises the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Territory Chief Ministers and the ALGA President. The role of COAG is to initiate, develop and monitor the implementation of policy reforms that are of national significance and that require cooperative action by Australian governments.

Issues considered by COAG generally arise from international treaties that affect the States and Territories, initiatives of one government that impact on other governments, and Ministerial Council deliberations. Ministerial Councils are regular meetings of Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers sharing common responsibilities.

More than 40 Commonwealth-State Ministerial Councils and forums facilitate consultation and cooperation between governments. Ministerial Councils initiate, develop and monitor policy reform and take joint action to resolve issues that arise between governments. In particular, they develop policy reforms for consideration by COAG and oversee the implementation of policy reforms agreed to by COAG.

Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council

In June 2001, COAG announced the streamlining of Ministerial Councils. Ministerial Councils in related functional fields were combined to strengthen their strategic direction and improve opportunities for cooperative policy development.

The Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council is an amalgamation of the former Local Government Ministers' Conference and the Planning Ministers' Conference. The Council includes Federal, State and Territory Ministers, the New Zealand Minister and the ALGA President. The scope and objectives of the Council, which is yet to meet, will be considered at the first Council meeting.

The Council is supported by the Local Government Joint Officers Group (LOGJOG) and the Planning Officials Group (POG), comprising senior officers from Commonwealth, State, Territory and the New Zealand departments with responsibility for Local Government and planning matters, and a senior representative from ALGA.

Other Ministerial Councils

In its review of Ministerial Councils, COAG agreed that Local Government be represented on Ministerial Councils where there is a clear Local Government interest. Other than where membership is explicitly set out by statute or agreement, it is up to individual Ministerial Councils to decide whether ALGA should be a member or attend proceedings.

Within the Transport and Regional Services portfolio, in addition to being a member of the Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council, ALGA is also a member of the Regional Development Council and an observer on the Australian Transport Council.

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Local Government finances

Local Government's share of taxation revenue

In 2000-01, Local Government's share of taxation revenue, all raised from land rates, was $6.4 billion - this is 3.0 per cent of taxes raised across all levels of government. This continued a trend of Local Government receiving a declining share of total taxation revenue. The decline in Local Government's share of taxation over the past three years is evident in Figure 1.1, where it has fallen from 3.2 per cent in 1998-99 to 3.1 per cent in 1999-2000 to 3 per cent in 2000-01.

Figure 1.1 Composition of taxation revenue, by sphere of Government, 1998-99 to 2000-01

Funding from the Commonwealth

The Commonwealth Government provides considerable financial assistance to Local Government through Local Government financial assistance grants, specific purpose payments and direct programme funding.

Local Government financial assistance grants

In 2001-02 the Commonwealth provided almost $1.4 billion in Local Government financial assistance grants to local governing bodies. These grants are administered through the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. More information on the means of distributing financial assistance grants is contained in Chapter 2.

Specific Purpose Payments

Commonwealth Specific Purpose Payments (SPPs) to Local Governments are either made direct to local governing bodies (e.g. Roads to Recovery Programme funding) or through the States (for example, Local Government financial assistance grants and Regional Flood Mitigation Programme payments). Direct Commonwealth SPP funding to Local Governments in 2000-01 amounted to over $502 million (see Table 1.8). This assistance recognises the work of Local Government in providing such services as child care, aged care, care for the disabled, natural disaster relief and for local roads. Of the direct SPPs paid to local governing authorities, more than $400 million was provided under the Roads to Recovery Programme and this accounts for the significant increase from the previous year, up from $111 million.

Table 1.8 Specific Purpose Payments direct to Local Government Authorities, 2001-02 ($'000)

Payment Title

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS

ACT

NT

Total

Direct Payments - Current


Aged care services

7 195

11 354

1 663

3 787

1 288

1 720

169

663

27 839

Disability services

522

113

349

0

0

0

0

0

984

Children's services

16 475

18 208

4 858

3 451

894

2 450

288

996

47 620

Local Government
Incentive Programme

472

552

526

308

443

227

491

266

3 385

Roads to Recovery
Programme

107 789

82 874

99 249

59 669

35 871

14 216

5 465

11 206

416 339


Total Current

132 453

113 101

106 645

67 215

38 496

18 613

6 413

13 131

496 067

Direct Payments - Capital


Aged care services

1 276

127

0

0

0

0

0

20

1 423

Children's services

328

362

97

69

18

49

6

20

949

Natural Heritage & Water Park, Goondiwindi

0

0

4 150

0

0

0

0

0

4 150


Total Capital

1 604

489

4 247

69

18

49

6

40

6 522


Total Direct Payments

134 057

113 590

110 892

67 284

38 514

18 662

6 419

13 171

502 589

Source: 2001-02 Final Budget Outcome, Department of Finance and Administration

Other programme funding

Local Government is eligible to receive and apply for funding from a wide range of Commonwealth Government programmes, such as the Black Spot Programme, Regional Solutions Programme and Rural Transaction Centres Programme. However, details of the funding received by Local Government are not tabulated.

Information about the extensive range of Commonwealth funding programmes can be found at www.grantslink.com.au. Information on Commonwealth programmes is also available in the Department of Transport and Regional Services publication, Commonwealth Assistance for Local Projects 2001-02.

State funding

Table 1.9 provides details of grants from the States to Local Government by type of service in 2000-01. Commonwealth funding provided to local governing bodies through the States, including some $1.3 billion paid in Local Government financial assistance grants in 2000-01, is incorporated into the figures. The remaining State grants directed to Local Government are for a broad range of purposes. While the focus of State grants varies significantly from State to State and from year to year, one of the major areas of funding remains transport and communication.

The States provided some $1.45 billion to Local Government out of their own funds, representing an increase of 18 per cent over the previous year. On a per capita basis, State grants vary considerably, from $15 per capita in South Australia to $160 per capita in Queensland.

Table 1.9 Grants from States to Local Governments, by purpose, 2000-01 ($m)

Purpose

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

NT

Total


General public services

2

11

9

182

-

-

-

204

Fire protection

63

-

-

-

-

-

-

63

Public order and safety

-

1

3

-

1

-

-

5

Water/Sanitation/
Environment

134

1

190

-

3

4

-

332

Social security
and welfare

-

63

44

-

8

-

-

115

Recreation and culture

23

78

49

-

11

3

-

164

Agriculture, forestry
and fishing

7

6

10

-

-

-

-

23

Transport and
communication

156

36

129

52

3

2

-

378

Road Maintenance

118

-

176

99

19

22

-

434

Other natural
disaster relief

11

6

-

-

-

-

-

17

General purpose inter-
government transactions

311

-

179

-

71

29

41

631

Other community
development

2

311

-

-

-

-

-

313

Other economic affairs

12

5

6

-

-

-

-

23

Other

2

-

37

-

-

-

6

45


Total

841

518

832

333

116

60

47

2 747

Less Commonwealth financial assistance grants

General purpose grants

311

229

171

90

72

23

9

905

Local road funding

118

84

76

62

22

22

9

393


Net State grants

412

205

585

181

22

15

29

1 449

Net State grant per capita1

$64.66

$44.13

$160.05

$97.77

$14.99

$32.84

$137.64

$77.66

Note: 1 From State population figures at Table 1.3

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics unpublished data

Local Government revenue

There is a wide disparity in councils' ability to raise revenue due largely to differences between urban, rural and remote councils in the rating base and ability to levy user charges as well as the cost of providing services.

In 2000-01, there was little change from the previous year in the average proportions of revenue Local Government raised from taxes (primarily rates), sale of goods and services, interest, grants and subsidies, and other sources.

The circumstances of individual councils do, however, vary considerably from the national averages. While indications of these variations can be obtained from the State and Territory data in Figure 1.2 and Table 1.10, it should be noted that significant variations exist between councils within each State and in the Northern Territory.

The proportion of revenue raised by Local Government from taxation varied appreciably between the States, from a high of 57.4 per cent for South Australia down to 26.7 per cent for the Northern Territory. Revenue from grants was close to the average of 12.7 per cent for all States with the primary exception of the Northern Territory, where grant revenue accounted for 25.5 per cent of total revenue (see Table 1.10).

Table 1.10 Local Government revenue sources, 2000-01 ($m)

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

NT

Total


Taxation revenue

2 176

1 543

1 248

669

545

164

43

6 388

(%)

(37.7)

(45.1)

(26.9)

(44.2)

(57.4)

(35.3)

(26.7)

(37.7)

Sale of goods
and services

1 880

692

2 074

355

193

191

47

5 433

(%)

(32.5)

(20.2)

(44.7)

(23.5)

(20.3)

(41.1)

(29.2)

(32.1)

Interest

217

55

84

44

19

10

3

433

(%)

(3.8)

(1.6)

(1.8)

(2.9)

(2.0)

(2.2)

(1.9)

(2.6)

Grants and subsidies

553

598

473

284

130

68

41

2 147

(%)

(9.6)

(17.5)

(10.2)

(18.8)

(13.7)

(14.6)

(25.5)

(12.7)

Other revenue*

953

532

764

161

62

32

26

2 530

(%)

(16.5)

(15.6)

(16.5)

(10.6)

(6.5)

(6.9)

(16.1)

(14.9)


Total

5 779

3 419

4 644

1 513

949

465

161

16 930

Note:
* Australian Bureau of Statistics advises that almost 30 per cent of other revenue comprised revenue from capital grants plus almost 20 per cent assets acquired below fair value. Half of other revenue was from fees for transport, water supply and sanitation.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Government finance statistics, cat. no. 5512.0

Figure 1.2 Local Government revenue by source, 2000-01

Table 1.11 shows that on a per capita basis, taxation revenue is similar for all States at about $340 per capita. The Northern Territory continued to have the lowest taxation revenue per capita of $221, whilst South Australia remained the State with the highest per capita taxation revenue for Local Government of $364 per person.

Local Government received a significant proportion of revenue from the sale of goods and services. It represents on average close to one-third of council revenue, with Tasmania and Queensland receiving more than 40 per cent of their revenue in 2000-01 from these sources. This may be because, in those States, Local Government has responsibility for provision of water and sewerage services.

In 2000-01, $2.15 billion in grants was provided to Local Government. Revenue from government grants, at almost 12 per cent of total Local Government revenue, continues to be a significant source of income to Local Governments, especially for rural and regional communities. In some rural and remote areas, Government grants can constitute more than 50 per cent of revenue for some councils. In general, urban councils have the greatest degree of financial autonomy. Figures 1.3 and 1.4 show the distribution of the proportion of total Local Government revenue derived from Government grants for NSW and WA councils.

Table 1.11 Local Government revenue sources, $ per capita, 2000-01

Â

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

NT

Average


Taxation revenue

338.23

325.75

352.91

357.56

364.25

348.38

221.31

340.90

Sale of goods
and services

292.22

146.09

586.49

189.74

128.99

405.74

241.90

289.93

Interest

33.73

11.61

23.75

23.52

12.70

21.24

15.44

23.11

Grants and subsidies

85.96

126.25

133.76

151.79

86.89

144.45

211.02

114.57

Other revenue

148.13

112.31

216.04

86.05

41.44

67.98

133.82

135.01


Total

898.26

721.81

1 313.23

808.65

634.27

987.79

828.63

903.47

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Government finance statistics, cat. no. 5512.0

Figure 1.3 Commonwealth and State Grants as a proportion of revenue for WA councils by council classification, 2000-01

Figure 1.4 Distribution of the proportion of revenue from Government grants for NSW councils, 2000-01

Local Government expenditure

Australia-wide, the main categories of Local Government expenditure continue to be transport and communication (almost 30 per cent) and housing and community amenities (23 per cent). See Figure 1.5 and Table 1.12.

Figure 1.5 Local Government expenditure, by purpose, 2000-01

Table 1.12 General Local Government expenditure, by purpose, 2000-01 ($m)

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

NT

Total


General public services

834

377

946

123

153

61

68

2 562

(%)

(16.0)

(11.1)

(23.5)

(8.6)

(15.8)

(13.4)

(28.2)

(16.3)

Public order and safety

134

57

44

54

21

2

2

314

(%)

(2.6)

(1.7)

(1.1)

(3.8)

(2.2)

(0.4)

(0.8)

(2.0)

Education, health
and welfare

259

588

78

108

56

25

12

1 126

(%)

(5.0)

(17.3)

(1.9)

(7.5)

(5.8)

(5.5)

(5.0)

(7.2)

Housing and
community amenities

1 276

622

1 116

226

180

161

48

3 629

(%)

(24.5)

(18.3)

(27.7)

(15.7)

(18.5)

(35.5)

(20.0)

(23.1)

Recreation and culture

595

573

359

331

167

53

17

2 096

(%)

(11.4)

(16.9)

(8.9)

(23.0)

(17.2)

(11.7)

(7.1)

(13.3)

Transport and
Communication

1 753

849

1 083

455

249

106

35

4 530

(%)

(33.7)

(25.0)

(26.9)

(31.7)

(25.6)

(23.3)

(14.5)

(28.8)

Other

351

325

404

140

145

46

59

1 469

(%)

(6.7)

(9.6)

(10.0)

(9.7)

(14.9)

(10.1)

(24.5)

(9.3)


Total

5 202

3 391

4 030

1 437

971

454

241

15 726

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Government finance statistics, cat. no. 5512.0

Table 1.13 Local Government expenditure, $ per capita, 2000-01

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

NT

Average


General public services

129.70

79.53

267.23

65.78

102.00

129.79

357.89

136.71

Public order & safety

20.84

12.03

12.43

28.88

14.00

4.26

10.53

16.76

Education, health
& welfare

40.28

124.05

22.03

57.75

37.33

53.19

63.16

60.09

Housing &
community amenities

198.44

131.22

315.25

120.86

120.00

342.55

252.63

193.65

Recreation & culture

92.53

120.89

101.41

177.01

111.33

112.77

89.47

111.85

Transport &
communication

272.63

179.11

305.93

243.32

166.00

225.53

184.21

241.73

Other

54.59

68.57

114.12

74.87

96.67

97.87

310.53

78.39


Total

809.02

715.40

1 138.42

768.45

647.33

965.96

1 268.42

839.17

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Government finance statistics, cat. no. 5512.0

Table 1.13 shows that on a per capita basis, expenditure on general public services varies considerably between a low of $65.78 per capita in Western Australia to a high of $357.89 in the Northern Territory. Per capita expenditure on education, health and welfare in Victoria of $124.05 was much higher than the other States and Territories. Also of note is the high per capita housing and community amenities expenditures in Queensland and Tasmania, at $315.25 and $342.55 respectively.

Local Government assets and liabilities

In 2000-01 Local Government in Australia had a net worth of over $147.5 billion with net assets of $156.7 billion and liabilities of $9.1 billion (see Tables 1.14 and 1.15). A positive indicator is that the growth of assets from 1999-2000 (3.3 per cent) was greater than the growth of liabilities (2.2 per cent).

Table 1.14 Local Government assets and liabilities, 2000-01 ($m)

Assets

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

NT

Total


Financial assets

Cash and deposits

291

428

1134

168

29

40

37

2 126

Advances paid

4

3

7

Investments, loans
and placements

3 140

534

236

436

58

101

46

4 552

Other non-equity assets

610

549

435

160

67

45

9

1 874

Equity

11

11


Total

4 041

1 515

1 805

764

164

190

92

8 571

Non-financial assets

Land and fixed assets

63 123

28 044

32 647

10 454

8 030

3 955

927

147 180

Other non-financial
assets

920

8

4

5

936


Total

64 043

28 044

32 647

10 462

8 030

3 958

932

148 115

Total

68 084

29 559

34 452

11 226

8 194

4 148

1 023

156 686

Liabilities

Deposits held

48

145

3

196

Advances received

25

7

11

(1)

42

Borrowing

1 428

611

3 000

219

69

207

11

5 546

Unfunded
superannuation liability

703

269

362

81

69

35

9

1 529

Other provisions

74

7

2

7

6

96

Other non-equity
liabilities

638

382

364

165

96

17

18

1 680


Total

2 868

1 316

3 773

468

397

267

38

9 088

Shares and other
contributed capital

40

40

GFS net worth

65 216

28 243

30 679

10 758

7 797

3 881

985

147 558

Net debt

(1 978)

(301)

1 630

(385)

138

65

(71)

(903)

Net financial worth

1173

199

(1968)

296

(233)

(77)

54

(557)

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Government finance statistics, cat. no. 5512.0

Table 1.15 Financial assets and liabilities for Local Government, 30 June 1994 to 30 June 2001 ($m)

Year

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001


Gross debt

6 757

6 435

6 080

6 182

6 307

6 168

7 452

7 504

Total cash, deposits
and lending

4 922

4 854

5 814

5 524

5 451

5 940

8 982

9 507


Net debt (worth)

1 835

1 581

266

658

856

228

(1 530)

(2 003)

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Government finance statistics, cat. no. 5512.0

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