Councils have various responsibilities and powers under both State and Federal laws. Where appropriate, councils may make local laws to exercise these powers.
Local laws are often adopted to protect public health, safety, or amenity in a municipality. They are designed to ensure that the actions of an individual or group do not have a negative or undesirable impact on the rest of the community.
Local laws only apply within a particular municipality. Local laws complement or implement other legislation. They are subservient to state and federal laws: that is, a local law cannot duplicate or contradict federal or state law.
The matters covered and what an individual council’s local law actually says may vary from one municipality to another. Despite this, there is often considerable commonality between the matters covered in councils’ local laws and the approach taken.
A council must advertise any local law that it intends to make and must consider any public submissions it receives about the local law before implementing it.
Copies of all of its local laws must be available for public inspection and/or purchase at the council offices.
Unless it is revoked sooner, a local law has a 10 year life and must be renewed after that time to remain valid. This ensures that local laws remain current and suitable to the purpose for which they were originally made.
Councils are required to make local laws governing the conduct of council and special committee meetings, see How councils make decisions.
Other matters that are covered in some councils’ local laws include such diverse matters as:
- Restrictions on the disposal of waste
- Parking permit schemes
- Animal management and control
- Road and traffic management
- Street trading and advertising
- Setting fees and charges
Contact your local council for details of local laws in your area.