The Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) demands every local council in NSW to prepare, inter alia, a ‘management plan’ and a ‘state of the environment report’. This paper critically examines both mechanisms and the relationship between them. Discussion is underpinned by the context of biodiversity conservation at the local level. Whilst good intentions lie behind the legislative requirements, their environmental benefits are questionable. They are often recognised as little more than bothersome bureaucratic hurdles. Although overdue legislative and policy change is forthcoming, concern is raised about loss of focus on the conserving biodiversity.