The Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Queensland, Australia are the defined areas within which legally constituted Local Government authorities, known as Councils, have responsibilities to provide local services. Determining the size and shape of the Local Government Areas is the sole responsibility of the Queensland Government. In the past, many local government areas (especially in South East Queensland and the Darling Downs region) have been amalgamated or abolished, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
The most significant of these processes took place in March 2008, when 97 local government areas and 20 indigenous councils were amalgamated under a statewide reform process — until this time, the majority of Queensland's local government areas had remained unchanged for decades and some even dated back to the establishment of local government for regional areas in 1879.
There are four classifications of local government in Queensland:
The first Local Government Areas in Queensland predated Queensland's separation from the Colony of New South Wales in 1859. By 1879, almost all of Queensland was under some form of local administration, either as a municipality under the Local Government Act 1878, or as a division under the Divisional Boards Act 1879. With the passing of the Local Authorities Act 1902, which repealed both previous acts and extended councils' authority over the areas they controlled, the municipalities became Towns (unless they had City status) and the divisions became Shires on 31 March 1903. In 1915–1917 and again in 1949, significant changes were made to local government in south-eastern Queensland and also in far northern Queensland. By the time the Local Government Act 1936 came into effect, although the different categories of local government areas still existed, they were essentially a naming convention and had no practical meaning under the Act. A City had to be proclaimed by the Governor following certain criteria being met.
In 1925, a number of local governments in Brisbane were amalgamated into the City of Brisbane, covering what was then the entire metropolitan area. Its council, Brisbane City Council, effectively became a "super-council" with some powers normally reserved for the state. It has its own Act of Parliament, the City of Brisbane Act 1924, and a population today of over 1 million. Due to population growth and suburban spread, however, almost half of metropolitan Brisbane's population actually lives in neighbouring areas such as Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redland, which are all managed under the Local Government Act.
In 1989, the Electoral and Administrative Reform Commission was set up to investigate and report on a range of reforms to Queensland public administration, and one area of its purview was the Local Government Act 1936 and local council boundaries. As a result of its recommendations, the Goss Labor government then in charge amalgamated several councils and a new Local Government Act 1993 was introduced.
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