Local Government Area
The Blue Mountains Local Government Area covers 140,377 hectares, 74% of which comprises National Park.
Blue Mountains City Council has 12 Councillors (including the Mayor who is elected by the Councillors), representing 4 Wards within the City. Councillors are elected every four years. The General Manager is appointed by the Council to manage the administration of the Council and in turn, the General Manager appoints staff within Council.
The Blue Mountains is one of only two cities in the world surrounded by a World Heritage Area and sits within the Sydney drinking water catchment servicing 1.7 million people. This presents additional responsibilities and costs for the Council as steward of a City in a World Heritage National Park. This includes managing the impact of development on the environment, protecting and conserving world heritage natural values and protecting the health of drinking water catchments.
The Council leads the governance and management of a City with an area of 1,431km2 and a population of close to 80,000 spread across 27 towns and villages. The Council engages, consults and partners with the community on their needs and required levels of service. It also advocates to other levels of government for services and funding and works to improve the well-being of our community and financial sustainability of our City.
The Council allocates over $100 million each year to the provision of an extensive range of services to meet community needs and priorities. The Council almost matches every dollar paid by ratepayers for service delivery with funding from other sources, including grants. Services provided include transport and public accessibility, waste resource management, town centres, community development, emergency management, economic development, sport and recreation, family day care and libraries.
The Council is responsible for managing significant natural assets that underpin the identity and health of the region. The natural environment managed by the Council includes 10,000 hectares of bushland, 300 kilometres of creeks, 20 hectares of open freshwater bodies, 500 hectares of Endangered Ecological communities.
Supporting the delivery of services, the Council manages over $1 billion worth of built assets. The maintenance and renewal of these assets is critical to sustaining our quality of life and meeting the needs of residents and visitors to the City.
Local government in the Blue Mountains commenced on 4 January 1889, when the Municipality of Katoomba was incorporated. The first Katoomba Council was formed in 1890.
The Kanimbla Shire Council was incorporated on 13 June 1906. At this time the Council covered the major part of the Mountains except for Katoomba.
On 14 December 1919, the separate Municipality of Blackheath was incorporated and taken from the Blue Mountains Shire area. At this stage, there were three Councils operating in the Blue Mountains area and it later became necessary to form a County Council to supervise the distribution of electricity and water supplies in the area.
On 1 July 1944 the Blue Mountains County Council was established. Other duties of this County Council were the supervision and operation of the sewerage schemes.
In May 1946 Katoomba was proclaimed a City. On 1 October 1947 the Municipality of Blackheath, the City Katoomba and the Blue Mountains Shire Council, together with Blue Mountains County Council, were incorporated to become the Blue Mountains City Council.
Further changes took place on 1 January 1980 when the electricity function was transferred to Prospect County Council and on 1 July 1980 when the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board assumed responsibility for water supply and sewerage services in the City.
Further changes to the structure of local government and Blue Mountains City Council were made on 1 July 1993, when the NSW Local Government Act took effect. This Act changed the responsibilities of the Mayor and Councillors and separated the functions more clearly from those of the General Manager.