An interesting article in the Age recently took a closer look at what local government can weigh in on.
According to the preamble of Victoria's Local Government Act, 'It is the role of council to provide governance and leadership for the local community through advocacy, decision-making and action.' The act itself says, 'The preamble and the local government charter are not to be construed as having the effect of limiting the functions and powers of councils under this act, or any other act.'
Professor Roberta Ryan, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at Sydney's University of Technology, said local government had a history of influencing state and federal government issues, from lobbying for women's right to vote, to pushing for gender equality in the workforce and same-sex marriage. . . Reflecting the views of local communities and advocating their views to other levels of government is actually the fundamental role of local government, . . . Councils are much more than just a service provider because they are the level of government closest to the people, so there is a democratic dimension you don't get from any other level of government.'