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Environment services

Local government has many roles and responsibilities in environment management.

Climate change

Energy use and resulting greenhouse gas emissions can be influenced by local government policies in areas such as urban development, transport planning, local economic development, community development and education.

 To be leaders in energy management, councils should seek to increase its energy-efficiency through greenhouse gas mitigation in council operations and the delivery of community greenhouse abatement programs.

Natural resources and coasts

As managers of public land and land use planners, local government is responsible for policy development and implementation of land use planning as well as regulating a wide range of activities that may impact on natural resources. These activities include:

  • land use planning and management
  • providing infrastructure for amenities, recreation, access and development
  • providing and maintaining stormwater and sewerage infrastructure
  • waste and litter management
  • community education, advocacy and capacity building
  • environmental protection

Councils are also involved in issues such as visual amenity, erosion control and hazard management.

Waste and resource recovery

Local government is responsible for the delivery of domestic waste management services including, kerbside recycling, green waste collection, waste education, litter abatement and management, and the management of transfer stations and landfills.

Councils can also influence communities and local industry to maximise the rate of resource recovery and reduce the amount of landfill waste.


Historically, local government was responsible for the provision of potable water, including the collection, storage and supply of domestic water supplies.

Reforms to the water sector means this responsibility has largely been transferred to regional water authorities.

Find out more about our environmental policy work.