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Role & Structure

Councils - Role and Function

Local Government - Background

Local Government has been an important part of community decision making since the earliest days of settlement. The first Local Government was formed in 1840 with the election of four Alderman and fifteen Councillors to the new Adelaide Corporation.

So long as the central government continued to build railways and major roads, settlers moving into more remote parters of South Australia were less motivated to form Councils.

As a result, the South Australian Government passed the 1887 District Councils Act, which empowered it to form Councils without waiting for residents to take the initiative.

Local Government Legislation - 1999

The Local Government Act 1999 and the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 were passed following a comprehensive review of the 1934 Local Government Act. These Acts provide the framework in which Councils currently operate.

Councils in South Australia

In South Australia there are 68 Councils created under the Local Government Act 1999, 5 outback Aboriginal communities and the Outback Areas Community Development Trust. A map and information about these bodies can be found on the Local Government Association of South Australia Website www.lga.sa.gov.au

Role, Functions and Objectives of a Council

Councils in South Australia participate in the provision of important social and economic infrastructure and, where appropriate, act as advocates, planners and coordinators and facilitators.

Sections 6, 7 and8 of the Local Government Act 1999 set out the role, functions and objectives of a Council, which, in summary, are to:

  • make specific reference to the importance of service provision, equity in access to services and the use of resources in an effective and efficient manner
  • provide scope for Council to determine the level of participation, involvement or direct service delivery desirable for local communities
  • place emphasis on economic and social development and environmental management
  • encourage participation with other Councils, regions and State and Commonwealth Governments in public policy setting and planning and delivery of services; and
  • require Councils to strike a balance within communities between economic, social, environmental and cultural consideration

Regional Council of Goyder - Structure


The Councillors, as a body, are responsible for identifying community needs, setting policy and objectives to meet those needs, and establishing priorities based on competing demands and available resources.

Decisions are made at the full Council Meetings, and may be based on recommendations from the Council Committees, which are established to consider the various aspects of Councils range of responsibilities.

Chief Executive Officer

It is the responsibility of the CEO, together with the Council Staff, to 'translate' the Councils policy framework and strategic plans into an ongoing program of activities for the management and operation of Council's affairs.


Council's staff, while working as a team, is divided into two areas - Administration and Technical Services. Basically, the Administration staff manage the 'inside' activities and the Techncial Services staff are responsible for the 'outside' work.

Regional Council of Goyder
1 Market Square
Burra SA 5417
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