Why Local Government Matters

Why Local Government Matters

Why Local Government Matters is a major piece of social research on community attitudes to local government by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG), undertaken with substantial expertise from staff of the Centre for Local Government at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS:CLG). The research aims to better understand how and why the activities of local governments, and their roles in society are valued by communities.

The research investigates:

  • What does place mean to people?
  • The role of government
  • How do people want their services delivered?
  • How do people want to be involved in government?
  • What do people think about local government?
  • How do people's personal characteristics and values impact on their responses?

Director of ACELG and UTS:CLG and project leader Associate Professor Roberta Ryan said of the landmark research:

"The view of local government as being confined to roads, rates and rubbish is long gone, in both practice and in terms of what communities expect. Australians want local government to be responsible for a diversity of activities in their local community, with planning for the future being among the most important. 

"There is enormous support for government to deliver services for a healthier and fairer society, and for the proposition that decisions about services should not be made just on value for money. According to our research, Australians overwhelmingly (93%) want to be involved with government in making decisions about what services are delivered in their local area," said A/Prof Ryan.

The report will be important for Australian local government and other tiers of government, organisations and agencies that work closely with councils. The results will also be invaluable for broader debates about reform of the sector, the role of local government in the federation, and immediate local-level issues such as service delivery, community participation in council decision-making, financial sustainability, and the wellbeing of local government areas.

Specific resources about these and other important contemporary local government themes will be developed from the research and rolled-out across Australia in coming months. 


A/Professor Roberta Ryan | 0402 209 896 or 02 9514 2643 | [email protected]


Why Local Government Matters: Summary Report 2015

Why Local Government Matters: Full Report 2015

Project links

Article by Roberta Ryan 'Communities love local councils but not private service delivery' in The Conversation

Why Local Government Matters seminar video