The Municipal Officers Association
The present-day Local Authorities Division of the ASU began life as the Municipal Officers Association, which was formed at a meeting of municipal officers held in Melbourne on the 24th February 1920. At that time it had just one branch and 119 members – but from such a small beginning it soon grew to become the principal union covering white collar employees in Australian local government authorities.
Over time, various elements of traditional local government activities (such as water, electricity, ports etc) were rationalised into separate, stand-alone industries. The MOA followed its members into these new industries and became a diverse union that eventually amalgamated with several others to form the core of the modern-day ASU.
From a Queensland perspective, local government has traditionally been made up of two separate elements: Brisbane City Council and all other councils in the State. And for many years these two groups made up the single industry division. However, a separate division was established for BCC in the 1990s to allow for greater representation and to accommodate the specific circumstances that are unique to each sector.
The non-BCC division has steadily grown over the years, reflecting the economic and population growth occurring in Queensland. It now includes 125 local authorities spread between the Torres Strait in the far north to the Gold Coast on the NSW border and Boulia in the far west; 14 Islander councils and 17 Aboriginal councils located predominantly in North Queensland; and the South East Queensland Water Board.