How to Have Your Say in Council

All councils in NSW are independent, locally elected corporate bodies. Councils are responsible for making significant decisions that have a far-reaching impact on their community. Local communities are encouraged to have a say in what their council does and how it does it. There are a number of ways that you can participate in a council’s decision making process, such as:

  • Vote at elections
  • Stand for council
  • Attend council meetings
  • Nominate for a Committee
  • Access council information
  • Participate in public consultations
  • Provide feedback
My Council Have Your Say Page

Links

Information on how to have your say in council

Become a Councillor

If you are passionate about what happens in your local community becoming a councillor is an exciting opportunity to make a difference and to represent the interests of residents. The communities served by councils are diverse, and this should be reflected in the people elected. However, across NSW some community groups are under-represented. For example:

  • 31 per cent of councillors are women (approximately half of the population is women)
  • the most common age group of councillors is 60-69 years, followed by 50-59 years (the median age of the population is approximately 38)
  • 2 per cent of all councillors identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (2.9 per cent of the NSW population is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander)
  • the first language spoken at home by most councillors is English (26 per cent of the NSW population speaks a language other than English at home)
  • 3 per cent of all councillors identified as having a disability (5 per cent of the NSW population have identified a need for assistance with self-care, mobility and/or communication).

The Office of Local Government provides workshops and resources for newly elected and returning councillors. We have developed a range of resources aimed at increasing the representation of our diverse communities.

If you would like further information about becoming a councillor, you may wish to talk to an existing councillor in your local area or contact the Office of Local Government – olg@olg.nsw.gov.au – or phone 02 4428 4100.

For more information about registration, nomination, election campaign finances, voting and other election processes, as well as important dates and deadlines, go to the NSW Electoral Commission website at www.elections.nsw.gov.au

Be a Councillor Page

Links

Information for Candidates

Promoting Diversity in Local Government

Women in Local Government – Stand for Your Community

Accessing Council Information

You can apply for access to information held by your local council under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act).

If you would like to apply for access to information held by a council in NSW, you need to apply directly to the relevant council. Contact the council concerned to find out more about the process for seeking access to information through GIPA.

Further information about accessing information that is not publically available can be found on the Information and Privacy Commission’s website at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.

If you have made a GIPA application to a council and are unhappy with their response, you should contact the NSW Information and Privacy Commission.

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Links

Information and Privacy Commission

Resolving a problem with your council

Comparative Council Information

Councils have significant responsibility and autonomy in providing services for their communities. It is important that these services meet the needs of the local community and are provided effectively, efficiently and equitably.

Comparative Council Information

Links

Your Council Website

Your Council Report

Laws and Regulations

Your local council is the best place for you to get information about matters such as:

  • building, development, rezoning and planning
  • rates and charges
  • responsible pet ownership, pet registration and pound management
  • sewage and water management
  • swimming pool registration, inspections and compliance certificates
  • drainage problems
  • planning and resource allocation
  • council performance

The information in this section is provided to assist you to understand your rights and responsibilities, the role of your local council, and the role of the Office of Local Government.

Laws and Regulations

Links

Boat Trailers – Declared Areas

Boat Trailers – Roll Out and Enforcement

Onsite Sewage Management – Septic Tanks

Rates, Charges and Pensioner Concession

Share Bikes – laws and information

Resolving Development or Rezoning Issues