University of Technology Sydney

49108 Local Government Powers and Practice

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Engineering: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


Note: This subject is not suitable for international and/or exchange students unless they plan to practise in NSW.

This subject aims to provide the local government engineer with the necessary skills to operate within the legal framework of legislative requirements and procedures governing local government in NSW; provide appropriate knowledge of the law, to operate effectively within environmental, economic, social and physical constraints; and provide the knowledge and expertise to manage the environment in a practical and effective manner. It covers the history of local government in NSW, the local government engineer as a senior officer, the Local Government Act 1993 and companion legislation, Local Government Regulations and the Roads Act 1993.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Apply skills to operate within the administrative framework set by the NSW State Government, in the provision and management of works and services
2. Identify the responsibilities of multi-purpose councils as provided for in the Charter (Section 8) of the Local Government Act 1993
3. Identify the various constraints a local government engineer must have due regard to in the delivery of works and services to the community; namely economic, social, physical and environmental.
4. Use the Local Government Act 1993, Local Government (General) Regulation 2005, Roads Act 1993, Roads (General) Regulation 2000 and other associated Legislation.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following faculty Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs) and Engineers Australia (EA) Stage 1 competencies:

  • Socially Responsible: FEIT graduates identify, engage, and influence stakeholders, and apply expert judgment establishing and managing constraints, conflicts and uncertainties within a hazards and risk framework to define system requirements and interactivity. (B.1)
  • Design Oriented: FEIT graduates apply problem solving, design thinking and decision-making methodologies in new contexts or to novel problems, to explore, test, analyse and synthesise complex ideas, theories or concepts. (C.1)
  • Technically Proficient: FEIT graduates apply theoretical, conceptual, software and physical tools and advanced discipline knowledge to research, evaluate and predict future performance of systems characterised by complexity. (D.1)
  • Collaborative and Communicative: FEIT graduates work as an effective member or leader of diverse teams, communicating effectively and operating autonomously within cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural contexts in the workplace. (E.1)
  • Reflective: FEIT graduates critically self-review their own and others’ performance with a high level of responsibility to improve and practice competently for the benefit of professional practice and society. (F.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Students are expected to undertake study outside the classroom, which must be at least the equivalent in hours to those spent in the classroom.

Content (topics)

  1. History of Local Government in N.S.W.;
  2. The Local Government Engineer: The changing role of the local government engineer, The engineer as a manager, Code of Conduct for local government;
  3. Local Government Act 1993 and Companion Legislation: Implications for the local government engineer;
  4. Local Government Act 1993: Purposes of the Act, Philosophy of the Act, The Charter. Structure of the Act, Service Functions of Councils, Private Works by Councils, Classification of Public Lands, Regulatory Functions of Councils, Special features of the Act, Senior Staff and Delegations;
  5. Local Government (General) Regulation 2005: General, Approvals, Orders, Tendering and Water Services;
  6. Operation of ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption): Corruption Issues and the local government engineer;
  7. Roads Act 1993: A comprehensive study of the Roads Act will be undertaken which embraces the processes involved with the Opening of Roads, Road Levels, Closing of Public Roads, Roadwork, Regulation of Traffic (‘Temporary’ and ‘Permanent’) by Roads Authorities, Entry onto Land and Financial Assistance to Roads Authorities; and
  8. Roads (General) Regulation 2000: Regulatory powers of a ‘Road Authority’.


Assessment task 1: Project - Environmental Planning


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1, D.1, E.1 and F.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

PLEASE NOTE: Assessment Criteria Weighting is Approximate and subject to change.

Assessment task 2: Final Examination


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1, D.1 and E.1

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%

The duration of the examination is 3 hours plus 10 minutes reading time.

Criteria: PLEASE NOTE: Assessment Criteria Weighting is Approximate and subject to change.

Minimum requirements

In order to pass the subject, a student must achieve an overall mark of 50% or more.


Local Government Engineering in Australia, Malcolm J. Jones & Robert French, The Federation Press 1999. ISBN 1 86287 309 7

Bluett’s Local Government Handbook New South Wales, Clark, David.16th Edition, 2008. ISBN 9780 4552 2546 3

Co-op Bookshop at 3 Broadway, City Campus

Students should be aware that the Co-op Bookshop is located at No. 3 Broadway adjacent to Harris Street. The bookshop is open 7 days a week: Monday to Thursday 9am to 6pm, Friday 9.30am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm.

The Co-op website is:, phone (02) 9514 2163 or fax (02) 9212 6303.

Other resources

All students must access the UTSOnline site regularly for information on the following matters:

  1. Instructions relating to special sessions which will be held if required by students;
  2. Supplementary lecture material;
  3. Selected “Power-point” presentations; and
  4. Project (Assessment Task)