Natural and Built Environment

The ALGA 2014-17 Strategic Plan identifies work on waste management including product stewardship, climate change, the role of local government in planning and the provision of municipal services in Indigenous communities as strategic priorities.



Local government plays a major role in the provision of environmental services including natural resource management and environment protection.  

One of local government’s most important functions is to ensure the highest quality land management. ALGA is working with other levels of government and the community to achieve positive environmental outcomes that assist in the control of pest species, outbreaks of disease and the protection of local industries, including agriculture and tourism.

Local government is responsible for the management of local municipal waste services. However, councils carry a disproportionate amount of the cost of managing Australia’s waste, particularly municipal waste. ALGA strongly supports programs to recycle, reduce and reuse waste. ALGA also supports product stewardship programs in which manufacturers accept responsibility for managing the end-of-life impact of their products. 

Climate Change

ALGA recognises the need to address climate change. Local government understands that effective mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change will transform the Australian economy, environment and society as a whole. Local government in Australia is committed to playing its role in meeting these challenges and opportunities.

Priority areas of work for ALGA include:

  • Intergovernmental collaboration on adaptation and mitigation
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emission in local government, particularly through replacement of streetlights with energy efficient LEDs
  • Improved access to information and scalable data to inform council policy development planning and community engagement
  • Legal liability of councils
  • Coastal adaptation


Local government has a statutory responsibility to plan and manage the built and natural environment. Strategic land-use planning, development assessment and building control are the primary tools by which councils shape sustainable urban environments in which people live, work and visit. ALGA strongly supports the role of democratically elected councils in all facets of urban and regional planning. Ensuring that communities are fully engaged in the planning process is critical to the effective implementation of Commonwealth initiatives such as smart cities. 

Municipal services in Indigenous communities 

A number of councils across Australia are responsible for the provision of municipal services to Indigenous communities. These are in addition to those services that are the responsibility of state, territory or the Commonwealth governments. However, these councils do not have access to resources including own source rate revenue to provide these services and infrastructure.  

ALGA believes that the provision of appropriate municipal services and infrastructure in indigenous communities is a joint responsibility between all levels of government. ALGA is working to promote improved coordination and engagement with local government, particularly Indigenous local government councils, to improve the delivery of all government services and infrastructure to Indigenous communities.  

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