Explore the three levels of government

Explore the three levels of government—federal, state, and local—with this classroom activity. Investigate the responsibilities of each level by forming taskforces to respond to major events.

Years 5 to 12
1 to 2 lessons
Related Resource
Federal, state and local


  1. Organise the class into taskforces of 4 to 6 students.
  2. Give each group a scenario and a resource list.
  3. Ask the students to analyse the possible needs and consequences of the scenario. Who will be affected and how? Which services will be needed to help?
  4. Ask the students to develop a plan, including the necessary services and all aspects of administration, including communication, coordination, and human resources.
  5. Ask a spokesperson from each taskforce to present their plan to the class and ask other students for their questions and comments.


  1. Which services listed in their plans are provided by the federal government, state government, and local government? Use the Three levels of government table to categorise them.
  2. Which level of government provided the most services in the plans and why? Does it make sense to have three levels of government in Australia? For example, the federal government may provide the most services because it has the most money and resources to respond to big events. State or local governments may be better able to respond to smaller, local, events because they are closer to where the problem is.
  3. The three levels can cooperate in planning for and responding to major events. In what other circumstances might they cooperate? For example, the federal government may provide funding for roads to be built, but the state government may administer the construction, and the local council may take responsibility for basic maintenance.
  4. Which non-government organisations may also play a role in planning for and responding to major events? For example, charity organisations like the Red Cross and Surf Life Saving Australia.