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Information for students

Why do we need local government?

Government exists to provide the order, rules and regulations we need to live harmoniously as a community. Local government is generally known as a Council. Councils work to support the community’s social, environmental, and economic well-being.

Rules?! We know... boring! But imagine if there were no rules! How would your household run with no rules? How would games be played? Image the chaos of trying to drive to school or work with no road rules!

If everyone in our community was allowed to do exactly as they pleased, without any care or consideration for how their actions might affect others or the environment, it would be total mayhem. This is where our Council steps in to save the day!

Council has the authority to make important decisions and regulate rules to determine what is best for the general wellbeing, happiness, safety and prosperity of our community.

Aside from creating the rules that help our community thrive, the Council also makes decisions around how we can use local resources to provide the best possible lifestyle and experience for those living in and visiting our area.

Australia has three types of Government that can make these types of decisions. They are known as Commonwealth, State and Local government.

Find out more below!

In South Australia, our Constitution requires a system of local government to be in place. This is achieved by enacting laws to establish local government and how it is governed.
The key piece of law is known as the Local Government Act.

Council is responsible for many of the services that you would use in your day-to-day lives.

For example, we are responsible for:

1.Roads

2.Rubbish

3.Footpaths

4.Playgrounds

5.Libraries

6.Ovals, parks, gardens

7.Cemeteries

8.Youth services

9.Halls, clubs rooms, and other buildings

10.Supporting emergencies such as flood and fire

11.Environmental programs like bush gardens and education

12.Stormwater

13.Public safety

14.New housing, businesses and buildings approvals

15.Wastewater management from your home or businesses

The list goes on!

You can find an extensive list of our services and service levels here.

Another important part of the work we do at Council includes planning for the future. This is done through strategic thinking and community engagement. Planning for the future is part of the wider system of Government in Australia, it advocates on issues on behalf of the local committee to the State and Federal Government.

The purpose of a general Council meeting is to provide an opportunity where all Elected Members meet to consider matters within Council’s responsibilities.

At every meeting, an agenda is presented to members listing matters that require a decision to be made.

For a matter to become a decision the Council needs to resolve (make a decision) as a united group with more than half of the elected members voting for it. An Elected Member cannot decide on their own. Once a decision has been made it is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer to implement that decision.

The Council is required to make A LOT of decisions, I hear you say!

Well, it would be if every single decision that is made had to go to the whole Council. (It would also be very slow!) To avoid this, the decisions that the Council make in a meeting are generally high-level policy, strategies and instructions only. The Council gives authority to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to undertake decisions on Council’s behalf. The CEO can then delegate to the authority to make decisions to relevant staff. These delegations are an integral process within Council that ensures we can make decisions quickly and efficiently.

Our staff regularly report to Council on policies, strategies, projects, initiatives and new works that are being undertaken. This means they are ultimately responsible for the work being undertaken across our region and are answerable to the Council for delivery of the Councils instructions. A few specific roles in our Council include:

CEO

The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the management of all staff and for implementing the decisions of Council and its services. The Chief Executive Officer reports to Council.

This role has extensive powers, delegations, authorities and duties to carry out. To assist the Chief Executive Officer there are Senior Officers that manage large components of the organisation.

The Chief Executive Officer is the most senior staff member and is supported by specific staff similar to a directorate.

The Chief Executive Officer is one of four executive officers of Council and together they form the Corporate Management Team.

Director, Corporate and Community Services

The Director, Corporate and Community Services is responsible for the delivery of services that range from information technology, records management, customer services to libraries, cultural, heritage, tourism, social inclusion and community services.

Director, Development and Environmental Services

The Director, Development and Environmental Services is responsible for the delivery of services that range from land use, development and building approvals to public safety, dog and cat management, by-laws, noise litter and nuisance matters, health and safety, public health and environmental projects and services.

Director, Works and Engineering Services

The Director, Works and Engineering Services is responsible for the delivery of services that range from parks, roads, stormwater and general maintenance to road construction, wastewater management and asset management.

To find out more about what we do, what facilities we have and our plans for the future, you can further explore the different sections of our website.

However, there are many other resources you can visit, depending on what information you are seeking.

The local government legislation along with The Local Government Association of South Australia websites are full of relevant and useful information. Alternatively, you are welcome to contact Council and we will try to assist you with your research.

Yes! The Mayor and Senior Officers regularly host classes in our Council Chamber! They are also available to visit schools within the area and talk to your class about local government or other relevant topics you might be learning about.

If your class would like to visit Council Chambers or have a Council member visit your school please email us at barossa@barossa.sa.gov.au

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