Future of local government project

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.

Download the FOLG Network declaration of commitment - Jan 2018 (Word - 65KB).

FOLG Network participation menu for councils

The network engagement activities for the ‘new story’ to redefine councils and communities are outlined below together with contact details.

1. Future of Local Government (FOLG): vision and strategies for the local government sector inquiries@mav.asn.au
2. LoGoNet: fresh thinking about the future of local government and governance Tim Robinson via email: timothyrobinson@optusnet.com.au
3. Neighbourhood project: a practical program to make community-led place making easier Lucinda Hartley, CEO, CoDesign Studio via email: lucinda.hartley@codesignstudio.com.au
4. ABCD learning sites: creating, at the neighbourhood level, exemplary projects that promote rural and urban asset based community building practice and revitalisation efforts Peter Kenyon, Bank of Ideas via email: pk@bankofideas.com.au
5. Community boards: new models of localism involving the community in devolved decision-making David Hammond (NZ), Hammond Robertson via email: david@hammondrobertson.co.nz
6. Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden foundation: pleasurable food education for the very young. A hub of community engagement, an understanding of the importance of food systems, food security and sustainability and positive food habits that last a lifetime. Josephene Duffy, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation via email: josephene@kitchengardenfoundation.org.au
7. Place-making masterclass: this enlightening masterclass will share the professional and personal tools to help you lead, manage and curate a great place Gilbert Rochecouste, Village Well via email: gilbert@villagewell.org
8. Zero waste network: learning how to transition to zero waste Brett Hedger via email: Brett.Hedger@portphillip.vic.gov.au
9. Digital transformation: re-designing, restructuring, rebooting public service Isabella Wallington, FutureGov Australia via email: isabella@wearefuturegov.com
10. MAVHack network: redesigning council services Lisa Bennetto, MAV Technology via email: lbennetto@mav.asn.au
11. Sherlock (LGAQ): using data integration to improve council services Lou Boyle, LGAQ via email: Lou_Boyle@lgaq.asn.au
12. Innovation workshops: not business-as-usual driving change Les Robinson, Changeology via email: les@enablingchange.com.au
13. Tiny houses: can tiny houses address homelessness and inequality? Tom Danby via email: tomdanby386@gmail.com
14. Visions and pathways 2040: aims to develop visions and innovation and policy pathways for transforming Australian cities to achieve rapid decarbonisation and increased resilience in the face of climate change Seona Candy, VEIL via email: candys@unimelb.edu.au
15. Transition Australia: join the network of transition and sustainability groups and share the knowledge Mary Stringer, via email: marystringer45@optusnet.com.au

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.

Further information

Event presentations

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