The Gold Coast Town Council became the Gold Coast City Council following the proclamation of the name City of Gold Coast on the 16 May 1959. The Shire of Albert and part of Beaudesert Shire were abolished and added to the City of Gold Coast on 22 March 1995. The first meeting of the new authority was held on 24 March 1995.
Local Government Councils under the "Local Government Act 1993" and subsequent "Local Government Act 2009" and through local laws: promote economic development; own and manage public infrastructure including roads and public works, sewerage, and water storage and distribution; regulate activities which affect the environment including air, noise and water quality, land use and waste disposal, pests and noxious weeds, and building control; provide community services including recreational and cultural facilities and public health services.
Under the "Local Government Act 2009". local governments have " the power to do anything that is necessary or convenient for the good rule and local government of its local government area" including conduct joint government activities, engage in business enterprises. construct and maintain roads and other infrastructure. Indigenous Councils which are also Trustee Councils are responsible for business related to trust land while Community Forums may be established to discuss community issues.
Councils generate revenue from rates, service charges, grants and subsidies from state and federal governments, and loans for major projects.
The Gold Coast City Council is comprised of14 divisional Councillors and a mayor. The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for carrying out the policies and decisions of the Council. From 1 July 2010, Allconnex Water, jointly-owned by the Gold Coast, Redland and Logan City Councils, assumed responsibility for the provision of water and wastewater services.
On 15 March 2008, the Beenleigh/Eagleby area north of the Albert River was transferred from the Gold Coast to Logan City.