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Local laws

Local laws are statutory instruments made by local governments to regulate a broad range of issues within their communities.

The Local Government Act 2009 and City of Brisbane Act 2010 (the Local Government Acts) establish several types of local law including:

  • local law - developed independently by an individual local government tailored to meet the specific needs of its community
  • interim local law - effective for up to six months to enable local governments to quickly adopt a local law to address a particular issue
  • subordinate local law - made under a head of power contained in a local law to provide for the detailed implementation of the broader principles contained in the local law
  • model local law - a local law approved by the Minister for Local Government as suitable for adoption by local governments, if required.

Power of local governments

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 2009 and section 29 of the City of Brisbane Act 2010 provides the power for local governments to make and enforce local laws that are necessary or convenient for the good rule and government of their local government area. The Local Government Acts empower local governments to make local laws that are suitable to their particular needs and resources and that achieve the purpose and principles of local government.

The Local Government Acts also limit the powers of local governments to make certain local laws. Local governments cannot make local laws that contain provisions:

  • with penalties of more than 850 penalty units
  • that purport to stop a local law being amended or repealed in the future
  • about a prohibited subject (i.e. network connections, specific types and distribution or placement of election advertising or development processes)
  • that are anti-competitive (unless the local government has complied with the prescribed procedure for review of the anti-competitive provision)
  • that are inconsistent with state law.

Responsibility of local governments

The Local Government Acts make clear that it is the responsibility of each local government to make their local laws and to decide what process it will use to make them, provided the process and the laws are consistent with the provisions of the relevant Act:

Information for local governments

Information summarising key legislative requirements and providing good practice tips for local law makers and local government officers is provided below. However, the Local Government Acts are the ultimate authority and primary reference for all local governments in relation to making their local laws.

Visit the following pages for more information: