The six states and the Northern Territory have established one further level of government. Local governments (also known as local councils) handle community needs like waste collection, public recreation facilities and town planning.
The states and the Northern Territory each have many local governments within their borders. The state or territory government defines the powers of the local governments, and decides what geographical areas those governments are responsible for.
The naming conventions for local governments vary across Australia. They can be called cities, shires, towns, or municipalities, but they are still controlled by the state or territory government above them.
In the Australian Capital Territory, the responsibilities usually handled by local government are administered by a department of the territory government.