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Future of local government

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Local government is faced with huge challenges as it moves into the future.

Responding to recent legislation around the impact of climate change and related matters such as food security is becoming a significant issue for local government.

Another emerging issue is the need to create the governance to manage Australia's two-track economy. The flow-on impact of the global financial crisis – including fiscal stress on higher tiers of government – requires a governance response at a local level.

Other challenges that need to be met at a local level include coping with an ageing population and delivering affordable housing.

This is the century of the city and Australia is part of the world's most dynamically urbanising region. This means the performance of metropolitan governance is under increasing scrutiny.

Across Australia local government is changing. These changes include:

  • a forced restructure of Queensland’s local government
  • the establishment of a Western Australian commission with a mandate to fundamentally reshape metropolitan governance in Perth
  • New South Wales’ Destination 2036 process which focuses on metropolitan governance in Sydney
  • discussion of major structural change within southern Tasmanian councils.

Councils need to determine the future of local government by developing new approaches to local governance and advocating for council-led change.

Future of Local Government 'new story' declaration

At the 2017 Future of Local Government Summit, an agreement was reached that councils and their communities identity should be redefined, and a commitment was made toward participation in activities developing and promoting this ‘new story’.

The initial list of activities that councils and communities can select from is available below, together with contacts. If you have any queries about this list please email

Download the FOLG Network declaration of committment - January 2018 (Word - 66KB)

Local Government Information Governance Committee

The Local Government Information Governance Committee champions information management and governance. Councils can subscribe to become a member to access better practice guides and grants.

Future of Local Government Summit

The annual Future of Local Government Summit brings together experts from around the world to share their views on the influences shaping local government and the opportunities this can create for Victorian councils and their communities. It has been running since 2005.

We also run a Future of Communities Conference and a Smart Urban Futures Conference every year.

Event presentations

You can find presentations on the future of local government in our past event presentations section.


Contact us

For more information, contact:

John Hennessy
Sector Development Consultant
03 9667 5525