Local Government Area (abbreviated LGA) is a term used in Australia (and especially by the Australian Bureau of Statistics) to refer to areas controlled by each individual Local Government.
There is some confusion as to the status of Local Government in Australia as it is not mentioned in the Commonwealth Constitution. The 1988 referendum included an amendment to insert explicit mention of local government in the Commonwealth constitution, but the amendment was defeated. However all six State Constitutions make mention of Local Government. The Northern Territory is a unique case whereby they have enacted a Local Government Act that the Federal Government could repeal if they wished to, but as Local Governments operate successfully in all of the States, that is unlikely.
State Governments are responsible for the legislation creating it and, ultimately, for supervision. Funding is provided sometimes by State Governments, sometimes by the Federal Government. However, in recent years State governments have increasingly been devolving powers onto LGAs. For example, in Queensland, LGAs have been granted the power to independently enact their own (local) legislation (referred to as "Local Laws"), in contrast to the previous system of by-laws.
The generic names of Local Governments vary from state to state; examples include Borough, City, District, Municipality, Region, Rural City, Shire and Town. Many local government areas in New South Wales and some in South Australia no longer possess legal status such as Shire or Municipality, but are simply known as "Areas", and their councils simply "Councils", e.g. Burwood Council instead of Burwood Municipal Council. There are currently about 700 Local Government Areas in Australia.
The creation and the delimitation of LGAs are responsibilities of the state and territory Governments. In all states and the Northern Territory, each incorporated area has an official status.
New South Wales
There are 152 LGAs in New South Wales, plus the Unincorporated Far West, and Lord Howe Island, which is also unincorporated, although governed by the Lord Howe Island Board. LGAs may be designated cities, municipalities, shires, regions, or have no designation, but in legislation all LGAs are classified as either Cities (C) or Areas (A) (all other types).
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