Local governments' accountability to the community
Local governments are accountable to the local community for their decisions, actions and services.
Elected local government representatives are also accountable to the local community for the way they behave in carrying out their local government responsibilities.
The Local Government Act 2009 and the City of Brisbane Act 2010 make up the legislation that governs local governments in Queensland. These Acts give local governments flexibility in how they make decisions and deliver services. It allows them to do this with limited intervention by the state government or the minister responsible for local government.
Nevertheless, local governments and councillors are required to conduct their local government functions and activities in accordance with principles set out in the Acts:
- transparent and effective processes, and decision-making in the public interest
- sustainable development and management of assets and infrastructure, and delivery of effective services
- democratic representation, social inclusion and meaningful community engagement
- good governance of and by local government
- ethical and legal behaviour of councillors and local government employees.
If you want your local government to:
- provide or improve a service (e.g. install new street lighting, erect a stop sign, collect bins more often)
- fix a problem (e.g. repair a damaged road, mow a footpath, clean graffiti, remove a fallen tree)
you should contact your local government's customer service area, call centre or inquiry counter.
If you want to know more about a local government service or decision you may request information under the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act).
Under the RTI Act:
- you are able to apply to your local government for access to any documents held by the local government
- if you believe information held in local government records about your private affairs is inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or out-of-date, you can have the information changed.
You can apply to your local government's RTI coordinator on official forms or in writing explaining which documents are required. See the local government directory for information about how to contact your local council.
The RTI Act encourages local governments to release documents unless they contain information which is exempt or which is contrary to the public interest.
The local government's RTI coordinator must provide you with reasons for exempting documents.
If you are dissatisfied with the RTI coordinator's decision on access to documents, you can apply for a review of the decision.
Fees are not charged for reviews or applications that are confined to your personal affairs. However, fees apply for access to non-personal documents. Charges also apply for photocopies of documents.
If you have a complaint about a local government decision, service, a local government staff member or the conduct of a councillor you should contact the local government.
View further information about how to make a complaint: