Local Government has been an important part of community decision making since the earliest days of settlement of South Australia. The South Australian Constitution Act 1934 provides for a system of elected Local Government bodies. The Local Government Act 1999 sets out the Constitution, system and operational framework for Local Government in this State. The Local Government (elections) Act 1999 contains the requirements for Local Government Elections. It sets out how the elections are to be conducted, who can nominate, who can vote, how the votes are counted and other important matters. Local Government is an elected system of government directly accountable to the local community. A major theme of the Local Government Act 1999 is that of a Council and its community having the appropriate degree of autonomy to meet its needs and influence its own future.
Councils in South Australia form important political and social communities with an unparalleled depth of knowledge of the needs of the local area and for this very reason Local Government is often referred to as the 'grass roots' level of government. It uses its own resources or that of State and Commonwealth Governments to deliver a diverse range of services in its local area.