The Office of Local Government (OLG) publishes a range of guidelines, codes, practice notes and other guidance for local government.

These generally relate to functions that councils carry out under the Local Government Act, or under other legislation or policy for which the Minister for Local Government is responsible.

These guidelines and guidance materials aim to support NSW councils to govern in a lawful, prudent, transparent and accountable manner as well as to provide strong and sustainable services to local communities.


Mandatory and Section 23A Guidelines and Codes

OLG publishes some mandatory guidelines and codes, as well as a range of guidelines that councils must take into consideration under section 23A of the Local Government Act 1993 to support councils comply with important laws. These are listed below.

Topic Publication Date  LG Act reference Link
Alcohol Free Zones 2009 Section 646 Ministerial Guidelines on Alcohol Free Zones
Capex Guidelines 2010 Section 23A Capital Expenditure Guidelines
Code of Conduct

Conflict of Interest

2020 Section 440 Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW

Companion Animals




Section 23A


Companion Animals Guideline 1 – Registration Agents


Companion Animals




Section 23A


Guideline on the exercise of functions under the Companion Animals Act

Councillor Expenses and Facilities 2009 Section 252 and Section 23A Guidelines for the payment of expenses and the provision of facilities for Mayors and Councillors in NSW
Credit Card 2021 Section 23A Guidelines on the Use and Management of Credit Cards
Debt Management 2018 Section 23A Debt Management and Hardship Guidelines
Development Applications 2023 Section 23A Guidelines on the withdrawal of development applications
Elections – Council Administered 2011 Section 23A Guidelines for Council Administered Elections
Formation of Corporations and Entities 2022 Section 358 Formation of Corporations and Entities (Section 358) Guideline
Integrated Planning and Reporting 2021 Section 406 Integrated Planning and Reporting Guidelines for local government in NSW

Integrated Planning and Reporting Handbook for local councils in NSW

Internal Audit 2023 Section 23A Guidelines for Risk Management and Internal Audit for Local Government in NSW
Investments 2010 Section 23A Investment Policy Guidelines (2010)
Meetings 2021 Section 360 Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW (2021)
Fireworks 2017 Section 23A Guidelines for Notification of an Intention to Use Fireworks
Parking Agreements 2016 Sections 650(7) and 650A(8) Free Parking and Strata/Community Parking Area Agreements: Guidelines for Councils
Public-Private Partnerships 2022 Section 400C Guidelines on the Procedures and Processes to be followed by Local Government in Public-Private Partnerships
Rating – Special Variations 2018 Sections 508A and 508(2) Guidelines for the preparation of an application for a special variation to general income
Rating – Minimum Rates 2018 Section 548 Guidelines for the preparation of an application to increase minimum rates above the statutory limit
Recruitment of senior council executives 2022 Section 23A Guidelines on the recruitment of senior council executives
Staffing – Oversight of GM 2022 Section 23A Guidelines for the Appointment and Oversight of General Managers
Stormwater Charge 2006 Section 23A Stormwater Management Services Charge Guidelines
Tendering 2009 Section 23A Tendering Guidelines for NSW Local Government


Practice Notes and other best practice guidance

OLG also publishes practice notes and other best practice guidance on a range of topics to support NSW councils to govern well and to carry out their functions in line with best practice approaches. These are listed below.

OLG Circulars to Councils

OLG also provides guidance to councils through Circulars to Councils from time to time on a range of matters.

Guidance for councils from other agencies

Councils should contact relevant agencies for guidance to support councils to undertake functions under the policies and laws that agency is responsible for administering.