Australia has three levels of levels of government that work together to provide the services we need. Australian citizens aged 18 years and over vote to elect representatives to federal, state/territory parliaments and to local councils to make decisions on their behalf.
The three levels of government in Australia are:
The Australian Government
The Australian Government, sometimes referred to as the Commonwealth Government or the federal government, passes laws that affect the whole country and is responsible for issues such as foreign affairs, social security, industrial relations, trade, immigration, currency and defence. The decision-making body of the federal government is Federal Parliament, which consists of two houses – the House of Representatives and the Senate and a leader – the Prime Minister.
State and Territory Governments
The state and territory governments are responsible for state-specific policies, such as health and policing. In the ACT, parliament has one house called the Legislative Assembly; and the leader is called the Chief Minister. State and territory government responsibilities include: justice, consumer affairs, health, education, forestry, public transport and main roads.
The decision-making body of local government is usually called the city council or shire council. State governments establish councils to look after the particular needs of a city or local community. Local government responsibilities include: local road maintenance, garbage collection, building regulations and land subdivisions, public health and recreation facilities such as swimming pools. In the ACT there are no separate local governments so these responsibilities are performed by the territory government.