The role of local government

Councils are committed to planning and delivering services that contribute to the physical, psychological, spiritual and social wellbeing of local people.

Community services are often provided directly by the council (or by others contracted by council) and are primarily aimed at supporting local communities, including vulnerable populations. 

The role of LGNSW

LGNSW supports members in their pursuit of social policy via application of four principles: equity, rights, access and participation.

We advocate, support and promote councils’ interests and LGNSW has a dedicated social and community policy team in our Advocacy division.

The social and community team works across a range of policy areas as they arise, including:

  • Families
  • Rural issues
  • Social inclusion
  • Gambling
  • Squalor and hoarding
  • LGBTI communities
  • Sport and recreation
  • Cemeteries
  • Graffiti
  • Swimming pools
  • Community development
  • Crime prevention and community safety
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Volunteering
  • Crown land
  • Water safety
  • Multiculturalism
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Poverty and low SES

LGNSW Projects

Inclusive and Cohesive Communities in NSW Conference 2017

Date: 2-3 November 2017

Location: State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street Sydney

Local, State and Federal Government workers and those interested in community cohesion attended and shared their insights at this collaborative event where all sessions were facilitated and presented by CALD related community stakeholders. The Conference included:

  • Examining best practice models/ frameworks to promote social cohesion and inclusion
  • Exploring pragmatic responses to social cohesion challenges in our diverse communities, and
  • Showcasing key strategies used in the local government sector

The Conference Package and Program are available here.

Slides from the following presentations from the Conference are also available online:

The Conference was hosted by the Local Government Multicultural Network, in partnership with Multicultural NSW, Local Government NSW, the State Library of NSW, Randwick City Council, Parramatta City Council, Georges River Council and City of Canterbury Bankstown and supported by Department of Human Services Centrelink, Vyva Entertainment, Inner West Council, Georges River Council and City of Sydney.

For further information contact Turkan Aksoy at Canterbury Bankstown Council on 02 9707 9863 or by email.

Literature Review into the Benefits of Investment in Human and Cultural Infrastructure and Services 2016

Resulting from the results of the 2015 Human and Cultural Services Survey LGNSW commissioned Professor Peter Phibbs to undertake a literature review into the benefits of investment in human and cultural infrastructure and services.

The final report examined the following types human and cultural infrastructure and services; libraries, community centres, cultural activities, sport and recreation, playgrounds, health services, seniors, events and festivals. The literature review found that there is extensive literature available on first three providing clear evidence of their social and economic benefits to the community; the remaining areas are lacking the same depth of literature, indicating the need for further research.

Further, the review identified that local government has not commonly measured outcomes of their investment in cultural and human services, rather opting for measuring outputs instead. The report has highlighted the need for local government to undertake more in depth research on the benefits of its investment in human and cultural services in order to identify the community benefits in terms of outcomes rather than merely outputs.

The full report is now available Final Report – Literature Review into the Benefits of Investment in Human and Cultural Infrastructure and Services - January 2016 (PDF, 1.21MB)

The report recommendation for further research is under consideration by LGNSW.

Human and Cultural Services Survey 2015

In April 2015, on the initiative of LGNSW Human and Cultural Services Working Committee, LGNSW surveyed member councils on the key issues facing councils in the provision of human and cultural services.

Around 60 councils responded to the survey which addressed: demand for council services, social issues impacting on council services, policy and legislative changes affecting council services and key areas for further research. Read a summary of the survey results PDF, 1.4MB)

Social Policy and Community Services Survey 2009 

A snapshot of council activities and services is captured in our survey called Your council in the community (PDF, 979KB) demonstrating local government’s investment in social policy, community development and local service provision. 

This survey extends beyond a similar survey undertaken by the Local Government and Shires Associations in 1999.


LGNSW often makes submissions to State and Federal Government and other agencies to advocate for the interests of local government and their communities.

Please see the submissions page for a full list including many which advocate on social and community issues.