There are three levels of government in Australia: Australian Government, state or territory government and local government.
The Australian Government, also known as the 'Commonwealth Government' or the 'federal government', passes laws which affect the whole country. The decision-making body of the Australian Government is the Parliament of Australia. It is located in Canberra and consists of two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Australian Government responsibilities include foreign affairs, social security, industrial relations, trade, immigration, currency and defence.
The Australian Government website is your connection with government in Australia. It links to information and services on around 900 Australian Government websites as well as selected state and territory resources and searches over four million web pages from the Australian Government and state and territory governments. The site has been set up to improve access to information, messages and services on government websites. It allows people to personalise their viewing and browsing options through an optional online account.
State and territory governments
Australia has six parliaments at the state level and two territory parliaments. They each retain the power to make their own laws over matters not controlled by the Australian Government. State and territory parliaments are located in each of Australia's eight capital cities.
State and territory government responsibilities include justice, consumer affairs, health, education, forestry, public transport and main roads.
You can find state and territory government websites at the following locations:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Norfolk Island.
Local governments are established by state and territory governments to take responsibility for a number of community services. The decision-making body of local government is usually called the 'city council' or 'shire council'.
Local government responsibilities include: local road maintenance, garbage collection, building regulations, land subdivisions, and public health and recreation facilities such as swimming pools. There are over 560 councils across Australia. Refer to your local phone directory to contact your local government.