Local government services
Local councils provide many support services such as child health centres, child care centres, youth workers, and aged care and disability services. Many have multicultural or community workers who can give you valuable help and advice as you settle into life in Australia. Local councils also often provide public halls, sporting, recreational and cultural facilities for community groups to use.
Councils maintain local roads, provide public toilets, and ensure shops and restaurants meet
proper health standards. They control building developments. If you want to make changes to
your property, you must check with your local council for approval.
You may need to pay for some local council services. Fees are published in brochures and council websites. You should not pay extra money or offer gifts to public officials to secure a decision or approval. Offering gifts or bribes is illegal and will be reported.
For contact information for local governments, go to Chapter 2, Get Help.
Most areas have public libraries that people can join to borrow books free of charge. Libraries also have some books in languages other than English or may be able to order them in. Most libraries have free internet access.
To find a library, go to www.nla.gov.au/libraries
Garbage collection and recycling
Councils are responsible for garbage collection and recycling. Most councils have separate bins for general waste and recycling (paper, plastic, glass and metal), and some provide green waste bins (for garden waste) or kerbside collection of larger items (such as furniture).
Check with the council or your neighbours to find out about collection times and responsible disposal of waste. If your waste is too large to fit in the available bins, you may need to take it to a rubbish tip or waste recycling centre and pay a fee. It is illegal to dump waste on public or private land.
Public toilets are not normally staffed in Australia, and are usually free to use. They may include baby change facilities and accessible toilets for the disabled, and are usually sitting toilets or urinals rather than squat toilets. Most public toilets have separate male and female
facilities, although there are some automatic and unisex toilets.
Please leave the toilets clean and tidy after use. Some toilets in Australia compost waste instead of flushing it away, so be aware of what you put in the toilet.
To find a public toilet, go to https://toiletmap.gov.au
Water in Australia is generally of good quality. However, in some locations, bore water or non-potable water is in use which you should not drink. These locations are identified by the
Local areas may have water restrictions in place. This means that your use of water may be restricted to particular times or activities. For instance, you may not be able to water your garden, or wash a car or windows. Check with your local council or go to www.bom.gov.au/water/restrictions