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Local Government

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Local Government sector, which is one component of the Government industry, and covers the operation and service provision of local governing entities in Australia.

In 2016 there were approximately 546 Local Government organisations in operation in Australia. These local governing entities range in size and responsibility, with common functions including:

  • building inspections and licensing
  • operation of community facilities
  • operation of community services
  • operation of health services
  • planning and development approval
  • property and infrastructure services
  • tendering and procurement.

There are a very broad scope of occupations employed by entities in the Local Government sector, including:

  • administrative and regulatory services
  • community, recreation and public health services
  • fire prevention and mitigation
  • horticultural, environmental and pest-related services
  • industry and tourism development and assistance
  • property and land services
  • waste, water and sewerage services.

Nationally recognised training for Local Government is delivered under the LGA - Local Government Training Package.

Information sourced from the Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment levels in the Local Government Administration industry, a good indicator of the employment in the Local Government sector as a whole, have risen between 2000 and 2017. This increase was steeper between 2000 and 2007 (including a particularly large rise between 2006 and 2007), with a more modest increase between 2010 and 2017. Employment is predicted to continue to increase between 2017 and 2022, and reach approximately 150,000 by 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in the Local Government Training Package have risen between 2014 and 2016. However, program completions have remained relatively stable during the same period. There was a large drop in the number of subject only enrolments in this training package in 2015, due to two specific Local Government subjects being trained in high volume by two providers in 2014 and not in following years. This specific subject-only training may have been incorporated into program enrolments in following years.

In the Local Government Training Package program enrolments were most common at the certificate IV and diploma or above levels. Very few enrolments were seen at the certificate I or II levels in 2016. A large number of enrolments in the Local Government Training Package are in the area of regulatory services, with qualifications in the general local government and administration area the second most common. The most popular intended occupations for programs in the Local Government Training Package were Inspectors and Regulatory Officers and Contract, Program and Project Administrators.

Over half of the qualifications in the Local Government Training Package were delivered by private training providers in 2016. This trend was strongly the case for all qualifications other than those in the area of regulatory services, where TAFE institutions formed the majority of providers. The majority of the subjects for these qualifications were delivered through domestic fee for service arrangements, though this was only the case for those delivered through universities or private training providers. Eighty four percent of subjects delivered at TAFE institutions were Commonwealth and state funded.

Western Australia had the single highest proportion of students enrolled in the Local Government Training Package in 2016, followed by New South Wales and Queensland. Differences in enrolments by state may be in part due to the different size and roles of Local Government in different areas.

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions both fell between 2010 and 2016, with a rise in commencements in 2016 as compared to the previous year. There was a high in commencements in 2012 and a similar high in completions two years later in 2014. The two most common intended occupations for apprentices and trainees in this sector were Contract, Program and Project Administrators and Earthmoving Plant Operators. The highest number of apprentices and trainees in 2016 were from New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

The top priority skills identified in the Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 are:

  • leadership
  • customer service
  • communication
  • technology
  • finance.
The top generic skills identified in the Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 are:
  • managerial/leadership
  • financial
  • customer service/marketing
  • learning agility/informational literacy/intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • communication/virtual collaboration/social intelligence.

For further analysis of skills needs and workforce demand see the Government cluster page.

The State of the Sector Report 2016-2017, by Local Government Professionals Australia, identifies a growing demand in Local Government for more civic spaces and libraries, as well as a need for housing and transport infrastructure. This is alongside a declining volunteer population in many areas, meaning paid workers may need to take on roles traditionally filled by volunteers. These may be in areas such as aged care and community organising.

In the Future-Proofing Local Government: National Workforce Strategy 2013-2020, the effects of technological changes on the Local Government workforce are described as leading to the increased importance of language, literacy and numeracy skills, and particularly digital literacy. The strategy also suggests a need for an increase in the training of existing Local Government workforces in order to meet the skill needs moving forward.

The Profile of the Australian Local Government Workforce 2014 Report agrees with this need for in place training of existing Local Government workers. The two areas in which the report specifically remarks upon the utility of this training are in order to develop leadership skills and to enable more flexible movement between positions for existing workers.

The Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 identifies the tight fiscal environment and increasing demand for services as being responsible for a trend towards multi-skilling and the use of technology in the Local Government workplace. This Skills Forecast also highlights the distinct skills needs of rural and regional Local Governments, many of which have limited funds and have difficulty in attracting people from outside of the local area.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:  

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit 753 Local Government Administration Industry, employment projections to May 2022
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations , employment projections to May 2022
    • 4231 Aged and Disabled Carers
    • 5111 Contract, Program and Project Administrators
    • 3622 Gardeners
    • 5311 General Clerks
    • 2326 Urban and Regional Planners.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 < http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit 753 Local Government Administration Industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 digit 753 Local Government Administration Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.                                                                                                                                              

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • Local Government Training Package
  • General Local Government and Administration
    • LGA20104 - Certificate II in Local Government
    • LGA30104 - Certificate III in Local Government
    • LGA40104 - Certificate IV in Local Government
    • LGA40204 - Certificate IV in Local Government Administration
    • LGA50104 - Diploma of Local Government Administration
    • LGA50712 - Diploma of Local Government
  • Health and Environment
    • LGA30208 - Certificate III in Local Government (Health and Environment)
    • LGA40308 - Certificate IV in Local Government (Health and Environment)
    • LGA50208 - Diploma of Local Government (Health and Environment)
  • Planning
    • LGA40708 - Certificate IV in Local Government (Planning)
    • LGA50508 - Diploma of Local Government (Planning)
  • Operational Works
    • LGA20204 - Certificate II in Local Government (Operational Works)
    • LGA30304 - Certificate III in Local Government (Operational Works)
    • LGA40404 - Certificate IV in Local Government (Operational Works)
    • LGA50404 - Diploma of Local Government (Operational Works)
    • LGA60104 - Advanced Diploma of Local Government (Operational Works)
  • Regulatory Services
    • LGA30404 - Certificate III in Local Government (Regulatory Services)
    • LGA40504 - Certificate IV in Local Government (Regulatory Services).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Local Government Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast.

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