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Guide to Councils

Local Laws

Councils use local laws to respond to issues and community needs within a municipality. These local laws complement their responsibilities and powers under both state and federal laws. Where appropriate, councils may introduce local laws, or by-laws to exercise these powers. Local laws are often adopted to protect public health, safety and amenity in a municipality, though councils are also required to make local laws governing the conduct of the council itself, see How councils make decisions.

Any local laws passed by council are designed to ensure that the actions of an individual or group do not have an adverse impact on the rest of the community, and only apply within the municipality in which they are passed, though many councils share similar laws.

The process for a council to create a new law is detailed below:

If a council wishes to make a new local law, it must advertise this publicly and consider any submissions it receives before implementing the law. It cannot duplicate or contradict a federal or state law.

The law, once passed, has a 10-year life unless it is revoked sooner or renewed to remain valid. This ensures that local laws remain current and suitable to the purpose for which they were originally made. If you would like to learn more about how councils develop local laws, visit the better practice local law website.

Councils must make all copies of local laws available for public inspection and/or purchase, and you can contact your local council for details of local laws in your area.