Local Government School Kit
We have prepared this School Kit for children who may be doing school assignments and for those interested in the workings of government, especially local government, which the City of Canterbury Council is one of. It will move throught the three levels of government, the first being federal (or commonwealth) government. The next level is state government with local government following. Each of these tiers of government will be discussed below, with link to additional resources provided.
Why do we need Government
In Australia we have not just one but thress kinds of governments. We have:
- One Federal Goverment
- A number of State and Territory Governments; and
- Many Local Governments
Our three kinds of government are usually referred to as our three spheres of government.
Why do we need to have Governments and why we need separate kinds?
The answer is simply without government, life would be very difficult. Government ensures that people in our community can live together happily. Governments make decisions concerning what is best for our community.
Imagine what would happen if people could do exactly what they pleased with no concern for anyone else. Imagine your own household, school or a game of basketball without rules. Picture the chaos and accidents on our roads if we had no road rules.
We have 3 spheres or kinds of government largely due to our historical development. European settlement of Australia was by the British with the establishment of the Colony of New South Wales at Botany Bay. Later other colonies were established in Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. New South Wales was originally the whole of the east coast but later Victoria and Queensland separated as individual colonies. The colonies set up their own governments and established Local Governments to assist with building local roads and other local facilities. Matters affecting all the colonies were decided by the British Government.
As the colonies grew and developed the call grew for them to join as one nation. After lengthy discussions between the colonies and the British Government, the colonies agreed to give up some of their powers, seen to be of common or national interest., to a new Federal Government. The Colonial Governments, at the time of Federation in 1901, became known as State Governments. The State Governments retained most of the powers they had as Colonial Governments, including control over Local Government, within their State. So Australia has three spheres of government - Federal, State and Local.
So, lets begin the exciting journey of governent in Australia by taking a look at the three levels of government known as the Three Spheres of Government.