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Guide to Councils

Council funding

Councils receive funds by levying municipal rates. They also receive grant funding from the federal and state governments. For each council, the council plan (incorporating the strategic resource plan) and annual budget set out their forecast financial performance and position including funding levels. These documents can usually be found on your council's website.

Each council's performance for Funding can be viewed and compared in the Compare Councils section of this site. To do this, click on the service area icon, select your council from the filter, then use the checkbox to select three additional similar councils for comparison from the list.


Councils typically deliver services in about 100 different areas. These services comprise council programs that respond to local community needs, and commonwealth and state government programs. They are delivered in partnership with the local community, other tiers of government and other agencies.

Each municipality is distinct, providing ‘core’ services in common with other councils as well as services that respond to particular local circumstances.

In 2018-19 Victorian councils generated operating revenue of $11.6 billion, as shown in the following chart.

The chart shows the revenue composition of the sector in aggregate. However these proportions vary between different groups of councils. For example:

  • Smaller rural councils typically receive higher proportions in grants, and have lower reliance on rates.
  • Many inner metropolitan and interface councils can receive larger amounts in other revenues (such as car parking and developer contributions).
  • Developed metropolitan councils often have a higher reliance on rates.



Councils use the revenue they receive to deliver services as well as manage and maintain significant infrastructure assets. In 2018-19 the operating expenditure of Victorian councils was $9 billion, as shown in the following chart.

The chart highlights that 95% of council expenditure is consumed by staff, materials and services and depreciation. This is consistent with local government’s crucial role in the delivery of local services and infrastructure.