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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.

Local Government nationally employs just under 187,000 people. As an employer, Local Government requires a diverse workforce that encompasses a wide range of occupations, requiring a very broad range of skills amongst its personnel. The Local Government sector is a service provider with some sections operating along commercial business lines. Local Government organisation structures vary; however, all consist of elected representatives and staff.

In 2017, there were 537 Local Government entities in operation across Australia. All have an important role in providing leadership in community, economic and infrastructure development and a range of services and social functions. Common general functions include:

  • infrastructure and property services, including local roads, bridges, footpaths, drainage, waste collection and management
  • provision of recreation facilities, such as parks, sports fields and stadiums, swimming pools, halls, camping grounds and caravan parks
  • health services, such as immunisation services, toilet facilities and animal control
  • community services, such as child care, aged care and accommodation, community care and welfare services
  • building services, including inspections, licensing, certification and enforcement
  • planning and development approval
  • cultural facilities and services, such as libraries, art galleries and museums.

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

Information sourced from the Local Government IRC's 2018 Industry Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

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

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Local Government IRC

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, increased between 2000 and 2018. 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 2018. Employment is predicted to continue to increase between 2018 and 2023 and reach approximately 140,200 by 2023.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in the Local Government Training Package rose between 2014 and 2016 and fell in 2017. Program completions remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2017. 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 2017. 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 Program or Project Administrator.

In 2017, over half of the qualifications in the Local Government Training Package were delivered by private training providers. 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. Approximately half of the subjects for these qualifications were delivered through domestic fee for service arrangements, which was mainly those delivered through private training providers. Ninety five 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 2017, 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 fell between 2010 and 2017, with a rise in commencements in 2016 compared to 2015, followed by another fall in 2017 compared to 2016. Apprentice and trainee completions fell overall between 2010 and 2016, with a rise in completions in 2017 compared to 2016. In 2012, there was a high in commencements for the 2010 to 2017 period. Completions rose substantially in 2014 but fell away after that. In 2017, the two most common intended occupations for apprentices and trainees in this sector were Earthmoving Plant Operators and Program or Project Administrator. The highest number of apprentices and trainees were reported in 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 generic skills identified in the Local Government IRC's 2018 Industry Skills Forecast are:

  • learning agility/information literacy/intellectual autonomy
  • managerial/leadership
  • customer service/marketing
  • communication/collaboration/social intelligence
  • technology and application.

The above Skills Forecast highlights future skills needs, including:

  • Strategic planning – strategic planning and business planning skills are increasingly relevant as Local Government seeks to define parameters and performance measurements in the face of increasing responsibility and static or reduced funding and revenue resources.
  • Service delivery – client-facing public employees need to have the skills to be both transactional and to act as guides or pathfinders to help citizens navigate available services and processes. This requires a detailed knowledge and awareness of the community, Local Government services and structures, and a need for highly developed communication skills, empathy and reflection, as well as a level of discretion and the empowerment to get issues resolved.
  • Leadership – leadership skills are significant in the sector. A structured framework to identify, develop and foster these skills is already in place in some Local Governments, while others lack the resources and expertise to address them.
  • Soft skills – there is a need in the sector for skills in relation to collaboration within the sector, with the public and with external parties. These skills are highly valued and are becoming more significant as the range of services and functions evolve and the way in which they are delivered changes with the application of technology, data, expectations and requirements. Interpersonal skills which foster collaboration, critical thinking and engagement are also significant in Local Government as the sector continues to operate dynamically in times of change.
  • Digital literacy – the digital transformation in governments is resulting in an ever-increasing number of ways in which Local Governments can interact with the community to identify issues and propose better policy and service solutions. Social media can allow governments at the local level to source ideas from the public to provide platforms for policy discussion, as well as provide information. Managing social media is a particular skill set that is not usually combined with policy expertise, and it requires a new and constantly updated skills.

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

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG)

Australian Local Government Association (ALGA)

Australian Public Service Commission (APSC)

Environmental Health Australia (EHA)

Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ)

Local Government Association of South Australia

Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT)

Local Government Association Tasmania (LGAT)

Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW)

Local Government Professionals Australia

Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)

Planning Institute of Australia (PIA)

Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA)

Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA)

 

Government bodies

ACT Government

Department of Communities (WA)

Department of Housing and Community Development (NT)

Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (Commonwealth)

Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs (Queensland)

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (WA)

Local Government Victoria

Office of Local Government NSW

SA Office of Local Government

 

Employee associations

Australian Services Union (ASU)

Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)

Local Government Engineers Association (LGEA)

United Services Union (USU)

 

Relevant research

Local Government IRC 2018 Industry Skills Forecast Local Government IRC

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit Local Government Administration Industry, employment projections to May 2023.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit Local Government Administration Industry, 2000 to 2018, 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 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, Total VET students and courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • LGA 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)
  • 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)
  • Planning
    • LGA40708 - Certificate IV in Local Government (Planning)
    • LGA50508 - Diploma of Local Government (Planning)
  • 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, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 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%.

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

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Local Government IRC 2018 Industry Skills Forecast.

Updated: 18 Dec 2018
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