Table of responsibilities

The following table gives a rough overview of the division of legislative power between the Commonwealth and state governments in Australia (as at 30 June 2007). It also sets out some of the responsibilities of the local governments.

 

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Aboriginal peoples

Federal

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage protection; grant of Aboriginal land

State

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage protection; Aboriginal land rights

Local

Local Aboriginal Land Councils: representing and managing Aboriginals’ interests within the council’s area

Aviation

Federal

Air navigation and civil aviation; regulation of airports

State

Licenses for intrastate air transport

Local

Administration of some regional airports

Banking

Federal

Currency; Reserve Bank of Australia; private banking system

State

State banking

Companies

Federal

Constitutional corporations (foreign, trading, or financial corporations); internal and external administration of companies

State

Partnerships

Consumer protection

Federal

With regard to ‘corporations’: trade practices; product safety and information; liability for defective goods

State

With regard to ‘businesses’ or ‘persons’: fair trading; product safety and information

Courts

Federal

Federal courts, practice and procedure

State

State Courts, practice and procedure

Crime

Federal

International terrorist activities; people smuggling; treason and sedition; espionage

State

Criminal liability within state jurisdiction

Education

Federal

Funding; loans and financial assistance; benefits for secondary students; overseas student charges; development and review of national policies; National Library of Australia; Australian Archives

State

Pre-schools; primary schools; and secondary schools; government school teachers; appointment and promotion; dismissal and disciplinary proceedings; higher education and universities; state libraries

Local

Regional libraries

Environment

Federal

Radiation and nuclear safety; pollution control; export, import, and transit of hazardous waste; agriculture and veterinary chemicals; ozone protection; nuclear material; nuclear installation; notification and assessment of industrial chemicals; marine pollution; biodiversity and cultural heritage; world heritage properties; national heritage places; Commonwealth heritage places; water resources research and development; forests: export control over sale of wood chips; fisheries: beyond the outer limits of the territorial sea; renewable energy

State

Environmental planning (land use and development); pollution control; chemical wastes; pesticides; agriculture and veterinary chemicals; dangerous goods and explosives; radiation control; ozone protection; industrial emissions; waste; recycling; marine pollution: state and coastal waters; biodiversity; national parks and wildlife; threatened species; cultural heritage of state significance; water resources management; water supply and quality; forestry; fisheries: coastal waters; mining; electricity

Local

Local (environmental) planning and development control; use and management of community land; parks; sports grounds; natural areas; noise management; air pollution; waste management services; garbage collection; recycling; drainage; water restrictions; storm water management; cultural heritage of local significance; sewerage; weeds and pest control; graffiti management

Family

Federal

Marriage and divorce; child welfare; parental responsibilities; maintenance, custody, and access to children; payment of expenses; social security: parenting payment; maternity allowance; age pension

State

De-facto relationships; status of children; child care and protection; medical treatment of children; adoption

Local

Child care; kindergarten; youth centers; homelessness and welfare services; aged care and accommodation; recreation facilities; local parks and reserves; swimming pools; sport fields and sport centers; stadiums; festivals

Gambling

Federal

Interactive gambling

State

Betting; gaming; casinos; lotteries

Health

Federal

Health insurance; funding of health and care programs; human reproductive technology practices; quarantine; therapeutic goods; narcotic drugs; psychotropic substances; tobacco advertising

State

Administration of public hospitals; regulation of medical practitioners and other health professionals; licensing of private hospitals and private nursing homes; transplantation; human reproductive technology; surrogacy; mental health; tobacco products; food standards and safety; disease control; poisons and therapeutic goods

Local

Immunization; childhood health centers; community health centers; social work and social workers; speech and language therapy; community nursing; mental health services; water and food inspections; inspection and testing of swimming pools; smoke emission control; bathing control notices

Liquor

Federal

Distillation licenses; labeling of wine and spirits

State

Licensing; minors

Museums

Federal

National Museum of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Maritime Museum

State

State museums and art galleries

Local

Administration of Art galleries and museums

Police

Federal

Australian Federal Police

State

State Police

Roads and transport

Federal

National driver licensing scheme; motor vehicle standards; regulation of heavy vehicles; interstate road transport

State

Driver licensing; motor vehicle registration; regulation of road traffic; road rules; infrastructure; main roads; freeways; highways; public transport; water transport

Local

Traffic; public parking; installing traffic control devices; closure of roads; infrastructure; local roads; footpaths; streets; bridges; street light poles; caravan parks; camping grounds

Tax

Federal

Income tax; fringe benefits tax; goods and services tax (GST)

State

Stamp duties; land tax; payroll tax

Local

Rates and charges

Trade

Federal

Overseas and interstate trade

State

Intrastate trade; sale of goods

Local

Food and sale markets

Work

Federal

Workplace Relations: Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA), Certified Agreement (CA), industrial action and unfair dismissal system with regard to employees of constitutional corporations, federal government employees, employees in Victoria and territories; retirement; superannuation

State

Workplace Relations: remuneration, employment conditions, resolution of industrial disputes and unfair dismissal laws with regard to employees of sole traders, partnerships, trusts, state government departments; occupational health and safety; workers’ compensation; public holidays

Local

Investment strategies; grants, awards, and competitions; land availability and business properties; promotion and marketing of locations; statistical and demographic information; planning assistance; tourism development; liaison with business organizations

Miscellaneous

Federal

Broadcasting; bankruptcy; citizenship; customs, excise, bounties, and border control; foreign affairs and trade; human rights and anti-discrimination; immigration and emigration; passports; intellectual property: copyright; patents; trademarks; designs; plant breeder’s rights; circuit layouts; national security and counter-terrorism; postal services; radio communications; telecommunication; weights and measures

State

Animal welfare and diseases; artificial breeding; building; civil liability; consumer credit; regulation of legal profession; printing and newspapers; prisons; real property (land) and conveyancing; succession; trusts; weapons; dangerous goods

Local

Registration and control of pets; cemeteries; building approval; fire hydrants

Table 40: Table of governmental responsibilities (examples)

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