Local Government School Program

Learn about local government and why we need it.

Government facts

There are a number of interesting facts about government in Australia:

  1. People can live and function together as a community
  2. We have laws that we agree to obey
  3. We are provided with the services we need
  4. Our rights and responsibilities as citizens are protected
  5. We elect our governments
  6. We have three levels of government
  7. Our national government is called the Federal or Commonwealth Government; we have eight state and territory governments; and many local governments
  8. The British established colonies around the country when first settling here
  9. The colonies later became the states and territories as we know them today
  10. The Australian Federal government was established in 1901

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Federal government

Federal means the joining of the states to enable decisions to be made for all Australians.

Located in Canberra, our Federal government has more powers than state and local governments, particularly regarding taxation and economic matters.

Some of the areas that the Federal government is responsible for include:

  • Economy
  • Immigration and Customs
  • Defence Forces
  • Imports and Exports
  • Postal System
  • Telecommunications
  • International Relations
  • Judicial System
  • Industrial Relations
  • Primary Industry and Energy
  • National Transport
  • Taxation

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State government

Each state and territory has a parliament house where its government makes decisions about state issues.

Services provided by state governments include:

  • Major roads
  • Schools and education
  • Police and fire brigade
  • Motor registration
  • Hospitals
  • Public transport
  • Electricity and gas
  • Health and welfare services
  • Major facilities for example: museums, sporting and entertainment venues
  • Public housing

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Local government

Local councils govern only their local community and make decisions that effect individual towns and cities.

There are approximately 850 separate local councils in Australia, with 78 in Victoria. Depending on where you live they may be known as shires, boroughs, towns or cities.

Local councils are responsible for:

  • Roads (other than State highways)
  • Drainage and footpaths
  • Rubbish collection, recycling and disposal
  • Childcare and preschools
  • Swimming pools and sports centres
  • Libraries and Arts and Culture programs
  • Youth services
  • Street signs and traffic control
  • Sports grounds, local parks and botanic gardens
  • Aged and disability services
  • Urban planning and development
  • Local laws and animal control
  • Regional tourism
  • Public health and safety
  • Major community events

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Wards in Geelong

We have 4 wards within the City of Greater Geelong:

  1. Bellarine
  2. Brownbill 
  3. Kardinia  
  4. Windermere

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City of Greater Geelong history

The City of Greater Geelong was formed in 1993 when the State government amalgamated (merged) six and a half local councils.

Learn more about the history of Council.

City of Greater Geelong structure

The City of Greater Geelong comprises two separate sections:

The Council

The council is made up of a Mayor and 10 Councillors who represent 4 wards in the Greater Geelong municipality.

Councillors are elected by residents and property owners in each ward. Once elected they are expected to represent their ward’s needs and desires.

To run for Council a person must:

  • Be enrolled in the electorate
  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Not be declared bankrupt
  • Be of ‘sound mind’
  • Not have had a criminal conviction in the past seven years

City of Greater Geelong elections are held ever four years.

Councillors are not paid employees but they do receive an allowance to cover the costs incurred while fulfilling their duty as a councillor.

Councillors hold public meetings every fortnight, where they make decisions about services, infrastructure and local laws by debating and voting.

Councillors come from all walks of life and represent all members of the community.

They have an important role in Australian public life as they are the closest level of government to the people.

Councillors have the opportunity to learn and demonstrate strong leadership skills and make positive changes in their communities.

Council Meeting

The Organisation

More than 1400 staff members are employed to implement the services, infrastructure and local laws decided on by the Councillors.

Here are some examples of each of these three categories.


The City of Greater Geelong organisation delivers 126 services in the following areas:

  • Finance and Strategy
  • City Services 
  • Community Life
  • Planning and Development  
  • Investment and Attraction 


Council builds and maintains public spaces and facilities. These are often assets used everyday such as:

  • Roads, Recreation facilities, drains, libraries, parks and signs    

Local Laws

Councils create local laws to deal with issues such as:

For example, local laws can apply to noise, fire hazards, parking permits, graffiti, animals and street stalls.

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Get involved

Keep up-to-date with what we are up to by reading local newspapers and checking our website regularly.

By keeping an eye out for council news and projects you can have a say in the future of our region.

Our job is to represent the needs and desires of our community so it is important that members of the community, of all ages, make their voices heard.

You can find us on Facebook and Twitter too!

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Suggested activities

can you identify at least 10 local council activieis in this picture
  1. As a class or individually, can you identify at least 10 local council activities in this picture?
  2. Now that you know about the services and infrastructure provided by the City of Greater Geelong, can you think of an area that you are particularly interested in or have a suggestion for?

Try drafting a letter to the Mayor or your local councillor about the issue.

Try to put your ideas forward in a clear and balanced way. How will your suggestion benefit the local community? Will there be a financial cost?

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Did you know the City of Greater Geelong…

…built and operates Leisurelink?


With more than 10,000 members and around 300 visits daily, the Leisurelink Aquatic Centre in Waurn Ponds is one of our most poular fqcilities for people of all ages.

…is planning a whole new suburb?

Armstrong Creek

Armstrong Creek, our new ‘green’ suburb is going to be home to more than 55,000 people as our population grows.

The new suburb will be complete with schools, shops, sports facilities and more than 22,000 homes.

…created the Waterfront Youth Activities Area?

Waterfront Youth Activities Area

This unique and modern public space is a hit with skaters and the perfect spot for youth events and concerts.

…stages heaps of major events?

UCI Road World Cycling Championshipsk

We help deliver events of all sizes by providing evenues, equipment and promotional assistance.

The biggest ever event in Geelong was the UCI Road World Cycling Championships, with a world wide audience of more than 200 million viewers!

Page last updated: Thursday, 27 February 2020