What's the difference between a District Council and the Regional Council?

District Council

Councils play a broad range of local roles, from services undertaken on behalf of the community itself, to most regulatory services undertaken on behalf of central government. Cities and districts have the widest range of responsibilities, which include:

  • Infrastructure services, such as waste water, storm water and drinking water (councils own assets worth more than $120 billion);
  • Local roads (councils own 87 per cent of all roads);
  • Town planning and resource management;
  • Local regulatory services, such as building consenting, dog control and liquor licensing (councils undertake more than 30 separate regulatory functions);
  • Parks and recreation and cultural facilities;
  • Libraries and museums;
  • Cemeteries;
  • Community amenities;
  • Economic development (councils spend more than $250 million per annum on economic development);
  • Tourist promotion;
  • Local and regional leadership and advocacy.

Regional Council

Regional councils play a core role in the management of natural resources of an area. This includes:

  • Biosecurity control (including pest control and noxious plants);
  • Resource management (quality of water, soil, coastal planning);
  • Flood and river management;
  • Public transport;
  • Civil defence (natural disasters, marine oil spill);
  • Regional transport planning and passenger transport services.

Functions may vary from place to place as activities can be transferred between territorial and regional councils and many councils have established joint service delivery arrangements.