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Local, State, Federal

Local, State, and Federal Government.


Questions answered in this section

  1. What is the difference between local, state, and federal government? 
  2. What does local government do?  
  3. What does the state government do?  
  4. What does the federal government do?

In Australia, we have three levels of government: Local, State, and Federal. They exist to manage the different issues and needs of people in different geographic locations. 


Local Government looks after things that affect local residents, such as:

Local governments are made up of councils, and the people in the council are called councillors. Councillors are elected by local residents in local elections. Every Council has a leader, sometimes this person is called the Mayor, and other times they are called the Chair.  As the leader of the council, they work to advise councillors, speak publicly on behalf of the council, and perform ceremonial duties.

Things you can talk to your local government about: Local services like libraries and parks; recycling and rubbish collection; domestic animal management (including dog parks and beaches); water and sewerage.


State Government looks after the things that affect the people in a certain state, such as:

A state government is made up of a parliament, and exists in the capital city of that state. In NSW, the state parliament is in Sydney. Members of State Parliament (State MPs) are elected by people who live in the state. The leader of the party with the most elected members of parliament is the Premier of the state.

Things you can talk to your state government about: healthcare and hospitals (not medicare); schools and education; police; housing.


Federal Government The federal government looks after issues that affect the entire country, such as:

The federal government is made up of a federal parliament, and sits in Canberra, the nation's capital. Members of federal Parliament (MPs) are elected by people all over the country. The leader of the party with the most representatives in parliament is the Prime Minister.The Australian constitution outlines the areas that the federal government has control over, and also outlines when the federal government can change the laws a state has made.

Things you can talk to the Federal government about: Immigration (refugees and asylum seekers), defence, postal and telecommunication services, and marriage laws.