Regional development and local government: three generations of federal intervention.1. INTRODUCTION
Contemporary Australian local government is beset by a number of difficult problems. Three distinct constellations of economic and political forces seem to have led to these problems. Firstly, grinding ongoing nnancial distress has given rise to grave concerns over the financial sustainability of many local authorities, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas of the country. In a path-breaking report, the Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC CGC Canine Good Citizen (AKC Dog Title)
CGC Commission Géologique du Canada (Geological Survey of Canada)
CGC Confédération Générale des Cadres (French labor union) 2001, pp. 52-3) identined five chief causes for the financial crisis in Australian local government: (i) 'Devolution'--where a higher tier of government obliges local councils to assume new functions; (u) 'Raising the Bar'--where a higher level of government, through legislative enactments, increases the complexity and/or standard of provision of local government services thus raising costs; (iii) 'Cost Shifting'--where a municipal council provides a service for federal or state government agencies without adequate financial compensation and where a higher tier of government no longer provides an essential service thereby forcing a local authority to accept responsibility; (iv) 'Increased Community Expectations'--where local communities demand improvements to local services or the provision of an entirely new service; and (v) 'Policy Choice' where a given council voluntarily expands or improves services. In addition, local councils are also sometimes partially responsible for their financial problems; for example, in many instances local councils have been reluctant to strike rates and other charges and fees at realistic levels (Johnson, 2003).
As a consequence of these financial pressures, existing service provision arrangements have been maintained only at the cost of depreciating local infrastructure. This has obvious dire long-run implications for local government. In this regard, in its Final Report Rates and Taxes: A Fair Share for Responsible Local Government, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration (2003a, p. 59) noted that 'there is a signincant infrastructure renewal gap across the country and asset standards are decreasing'.
Secondly, there is ongoing concern by all state and territory government policy makers over the operational efficiency of local authorities, especially small regional and rural councils. The primary policy instrument for addressing this perceived problem has been structural reform, with a strong emphasis on council amalgamations (Vince 1997). During the 1990's, South Australia South Australia, state (1991 pop. 1,236,623), 380,070 sq mi (984,381 sq km), S central Australia. It is bounded on the S by the Indian Ocean. Kangaroo Island and many smaller islands off the south coast are included in the state. , Tasmania and Victoria all experienced compulsory consolidation programs and more recently New South Wales New South Wales, state (1991 pop. 5,164,549), 309,443 sq mi (801,457 sq km), SE Australia. It is bounded on the E by the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is the capital. The other principal urban centers are Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Wollongong, and Broken Hill. and Queensland have also undergone compulsory amalgamation. At the time writing the Northern Territory is poised for drastic structural reorganisation. Only Western Australia Western Australia, state (1991 pop. 1,409,965), 975,920 sq mi (2,527,633 sq km), Australia, comprising the entire western part of the continent. It is bounded on the N, W, and S by the Indian Ocean. Perth is the capital. has thus far escaped unscathed.
Thirdly, in the past two decades the various enabling acts of the different Australian local government jurisdictions have been amended to give local councils greater latitude in conducting their affairs. This has led to a substantial expansion of the role of local government and growing complexity in its relationships with state and federal governments (Dollery, Wallis and Allan, 2006). In this regard, the National Office of Local Government (NOLG NOLG National Office of Local Government (Australia) ) Annual Report for 2000-01 pointed to the excessively complicated intergovernmental institutions, which involved the Council of Australian Governments “COAG” redirects here. For other uses, see COAG (disambiguation).
“Premier's Conference” redirects here. For other uses, see Premier's Conference (disambiguation). , in excess of forty Commonwealth-State Ministerial Councils and fora, the Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council, and numerous other ministerial councils, many of which affect local government (NOLG, 2003, p. 8).
In addition, signincant differences in the functions of the different state local government jurisdictions have widened (Marshall, 2008, pp. 23-27). As a result, state government oversight mechanisms are now dissimilar, which has served to diminish the possibility of a uniform national approach to local government. Moreover, an uneven devolution of additional functions to local councils both within and between the state and territory local government systems has further complicated the pattern of intergovernmental relations.
Various solutions have been proposed to tackle these problems. As we have seen, amalgamation has been the main weapon in the arsenal of policy instruments employed in local government reform. However, the results of council merger programs have proved disappointing. This disillusionment Disillusionment
loses innocence through WWI experience. [Am. Lit.: “The Killers”]
Angry Young Men
disillusioned postwar writers of Britain, such as Osborne and Amis. [Br. Lit. has followed a series of national and state-based inquiries into financial sustainability into local government. For instance, the South Australian Financial Sustainability Review Board's (FSRB) (2005) Rising to the Challenge report defined financial sustainability and then assessed South Australian councils against this measure. Along similar lines, the Independent Inquiry into the Financial Sustainability (LGI LGI Leeds General Infirmary (UK)
LGI Law Governed Interaction
LGI Law-Governed Interaction
LGI Local Government Institute
LGI Deadmans Cay / Long Island, Bahamas - Deadmans Cay (Airport Code) ) for the New South Wales Local Government Association (2006) sought to determine financial Sustainability in New South Wales local government. More recently, an independent survey of one hundred of New South Wales' most populated councils found that over one third are 'financially unsustainable' (FiscalStar Services Pty Ltd PTY LTD Propriety Limited (company structure in Australia) , 2008: pp. 4 and 11). Both the (now defunct) Queensland Local Government Association's (LGAQ) (2006) Size, Shape and Sustainability (SSS SSS
sick sinus syndrome ) program and the Western Australian Local Government Association's (WALGA WALGA Western Australian Local Government Association ) (2006) Systemic Sustainability Study Inquiry considered financial Sustainability in their respective local government systems, as did a report commissioned by the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) (2007). At the national level, a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (2006) entitled the National Financial Sustainability Study of Local Government examined the problem of financial Sustainability in local government.
These inquiries all found widespread problems of financial sustainability in may local councils, regardless of whether amalgamation had occurred in the jurisdiction in question. Moreover, they were unanimous in dismissing amalgamation as a 'magic bullet' for tackling financial problems. An important consequence of these deliberations has been a growing scepticism scep·ti·cism
Variant of skepticism.
a personal disposition toward doubt or incredulity of facts, persons, or institutions. See also 312. PHILOSOPHY. — skeptic, n. over the unsatisfactory economic, political and social outcomes of council amalgamations (Dollery, Byrnes and Crase, 2007a).
As a result, alternative solutions have been canvassed. Three main avenues have been explored. In the first place, some commentators have called for additional sources of revenue. For example, Byrnes, Dollery, Crase and Simmons (2008) have proposed a municipal bond issue on the Australian equity market. Secondly, others have called for greater funding from higher tiers of government, including the establishment of a Commonwealth Local Infrastructure Fund (PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2006; Dollery, Byrnes and Crase, 2007b). Thirdly, and most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially , local councils across Australia have explored models of local government that present alternatives to amalgamation. These models are usually based on shared service arrangements and have displayed high levels of ingenuity (see, for instance, Dollery and Crase 2006). In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , shared services shared services,
n.pl the administrative, clinical, or other service functions that are common to two or more hospitals or their health care facilities and used jointly or cooperatively by them. now represent the most important method of tackling the problems of contemporary Australian local government.
However, the ongoing debate has ignored a potentially crucial aspect of the move towards shared service models, which has been obliquely touched, but not examined in the WALGA Systemic Sustainability Study Inquiry (2006) with its Regional Model. In essence, this 'elephant in the room' resides in the impetus shared services give to the evolution of existing local government towards a system of regional government. This paper seeks to remedy this neglect in the literature by evaluating three historical antecedents of regionalisation Regionalisation refers to the tendency to form regions or the process of doing so.
The paper is divided into five main parts. Section 2 discusses the Commonwealth government's nrst major initiative in regionalisation in the 1940s. Section 3 tackles the Commonwealth's second important initiative in the early 1970s. Section 4 contemplates the Commonwealth's third initiative the 1990s. Section 5 considers subsequent policy making in the area. The paper ends by attempting to extract some useful lessons in a brief concluding section 6.
2. THE COMMONWEALTH'S FIRST INITIATIVE: NATION BUILDING IN THE 1940s
The Commonwealth first directed its attention toward regional Australia as a specific policy concern under PM John Curtin This article is about the Australian Prime Minister. For the California state senator, see John Curtin (U.S. Politician).
John Joseph Curtin (8 January, 1885 – 5 July, 1945), Australian politician and 14th Prime Minister of Australia, led Australia when the Australian and the Minister for Post-War Construction and later PM Ben Chifley. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Sandercock (1975), underlying socio-economic policy objectives included the utilisation of natural resources, defence imperatives and urban decentralisation n. 1. same as decentralization.
Noun 1. decentralisation - the spread of power away from the center to local branches or governments
spreading, spread - act of extending over a wider scope or expanse of space or time . A plan for regional infrastructure and resource development arose through a series of Commonwealth/state conferences, culminating in 1949 with the publication of Regional Planning in Australia (Commonwealth Department of Post-War Reconstruction (CDPWR)). This was preceded by other reports on public housing and social welfare which also encompassed regional planning (Reddel, 2005, p. 188). The CDPWR 'attracted a variety of talented visionaries preoccupied with creating a better social climate' (McMullin, 2000, p. 245), seeking national reconstruction by ensuring equitable living standards living standards npl → nivel msg de vida
living standards living npl → niveau m de vie
living standards living npl based on secure male employment, adequate housing and planned communities.. For social impact to be achieved, the CDPWR encouraged coordinated resource development in under-populated rural areas (Harris, 1976, pp. 108-9; Taylor and Garlick; 1989, p. 80).
Under the CDPWR, the nation was divided into almost 100 regions leading to, in many instances, the establishment of 'regional development committees' (RDCs) that were expected to prepare resource inventories and regional plans 'directed towards the full development of the region's resources in order to maintain the maximum population' (CDPWR, 1949, p. 18; see also Harris, 1989, p. 109; Neutze, 1989, p. 50). The CDPWR's purview The part of a statute or a law that delineates its purpose and scope.
Purview refers to the enacting part of a statute. It generally begins with the words be it enacted and continues as far as the repealing clause. extended beyond 'physical' resources (listed as climate, physiography, water, soil, minerals, vegetation, fisheries and land-use) to 'economic resources' such as industrial development and 'social resources', including housing, hotels and hospitals (1949, pp. 21-4). The Commonwealth and state Governments determined the regional boundaries together (bore et al, 2003, p. 158). RDCs were founded with significant Local Government representation, although composition varied between jurisdictions. Municipal representatives generally comprised 50 per cent of membership, whilst the remainder consisted of 'three or four senior officers of State Government departments resident in the region and two or three members who [were] prominent in commerce or secondary industries of the region' (CDPWR, 1949, p. 17; see also Harris, 1989 p. 108). The number of council delegates reflected the Commonwealth's belief that councils could break out from their straitjacket straitjacket /strait·jack·et/ (strat´jak?et) informal name for camisole.
strait·jack·et or straight·jack·et
n. of 'wastebin' functions to regional cooperation on broader issues.
With national prosperity being the driving objective, there was substantial faith in the development potential of seemingly under-utilised regions, such as the Murray Valley (Orchard, 1999a, p. 20). The subsequent Minister for Post-War Reconstruction under PM Chifley, John Dedman John Dedman (born 2 June, 1896 - died 22 November, 1973) was a Minister in the Australian Labor Party governments led by John Curtin and Ben Chifley. He was responsible for organising production during World War II, establishing the Australian National University, reorganising the , stressed in the CDPWR foreword (1949, p. 3) that 'scientific study' and the 'careful working out of long-range plans' were vital in obtaining the 'best use ... of our resources'. This reflected the emerging notion of 'wise use' principles to guide and promote natural resource development (Frawley, 1994, p. 66), underscored by a complex interplay of social ideals and embryonic science. Regionalisation provided an attractive administrative framework for this to occur. Because modern environmentalism environmentalism, movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use. of the 1960s/1970s had yet to dawn, the CDPWR Report contained no reference to conservation other than listing 'natural vegetation' as a subset of 'physical resources'. (1949, p. 22).
Regional boundaries tended to observe council perimeters as 'budding blocks'. The CDPWR believed that only 'small differences' existed between physiographic phys·i·og·ra·phy
See physical geography.
physi·ogra·pher n. regional boundaries and Local Government borders, basing its functional regions mainly on physical factors such as "fundamental unity in topography" but also economic features and communities of interest (1949, p. 22). This was despite some of the archaic council borders based on old police districts (Power, Wettenhall & Halligan, 1981, p. 8; Barren, 1979, p. 70; Larcombe, 1973, pp. 210-12). Reliance on council borders would have offered considerable convenience due to the CDPWR's intention to rely on individual councils to collect important information (1949, p. 22). More importantly, it would have also reflected 'communities of interest' derived from 'cultural and historical legac[ies]' that had emerged from democratically elected councils with their headquarters at the centre of town (Dollery, Crase and Johnson, 2006, p. 150).
In 1949, the newly elected conservative Government led by PM Robert Menzies Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, KT, AK, CH, FRS, QC (20 December 1894 – 15 May 1978), Australian politician, was the twelfth and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia, serving eighteen and a half years. abandoned the scheme and returned all regional development policy to the states. But it seems that the program had already suffered from deep-rooted problems. Neutze noteed that whilst some plans reached completion, implementation received insufficient attention (1989, pp. 50-1; see also Sandercock, 1975, p. 106). The CDPWR's own report failed to address this crucial element. Taylor observed that cost implications were 'barely addressed' (1990, p. 57), whilst Wettenhall and Power lamented that 'debates of the period never explained clearly what was to happen to existing State and local units' (1975, p. 201). There must have been grave concern in some quarters that regional bodies set up by the Commonwealth might comprise one step towards reorganisation of the federal framework. Whilst the CDPWR stressed that regional planning was 'a matter primarily for the states' (1949, p. 15), it provided little or no policy indication of how this was to happen. Despite an express desire to avoid trespass on trespass on or upon
Formal to take unfair advantage of (someone's friendship, patience, etc.): I won't trespass upon your hospitality any longer State jurisdiction (CDPWR, 1949, pp. 3, 15-6 and 18), political suspicion and resentment increased (Lloyd and Troy, 1981, pp. 123; Orchard, 1999a, p. 21). Wettenhall and Power (1975, p. 201) observe that by the late 1940s, the 'mood' of the nation was 'anti-planning and avowedly profederalist'. But as we will see, intergovernmental conflict was to continue throughout all Commonwealth attempts to establish potentially strong regional institutions (Dore et al, 2003, p. 159).
This jurisdictional tension within the federal system highlights the question of local government's role in this nation budding phase of regional policy. PM Cumin cumin or cummin (both: kŭm`ĭn), low annual herb (Cuminum cyminum) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), long cultivated in the Old World for the aromatic seedlike fruits. himself had recognised local government's inherent interest in assisting local economies (CDPWR, 1949, p. 1). His successor, PM Chifley, was indeed a member of his local authority, the then Abercrombie Shire Council in the NSW NSW New South Wales
Noun 1. NSW - the agency that provides units to conduct unconventional and counter-guerilla warfare
Naval Special Warfare Central West. The CDPWR regarded councils as 'most intimately concerned with conservation and development of regional resources' (1949, p. 16). But there is little mention in the Report of a role for local government beyond feeding information into the inventories. Whilst the Report refers to councils being advised of regional plans through the RDCs (CDPWR, 1949, p. 19), there is nothing beyond passing reference about how councils might have given effect to them. This is not surprising. At that stage, Local Government's functional activity was narrow and primitive (Maiden, 1966, p. 128; Purdie, 1976, p. 37). Councils had no background at all in strategic planning Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. . Furthermore, having been weaned on subservience sub·ser·vi·ent
1. Subordinate in capacity or function.
2. Obsequious; servile.
3. Useful as a means or an instrument; serving to promote an end. to colonial and state governments, they had minimal experience in entering into partnerships with other spheres of government. In short, local government was ill-equipped to seize opportunity from a poorly planned, albeit well-intentioned scheme, despite the initial involvement of local representatives.
3. THE COMMONWEALTH'S SECOND INITIATIVE: PATERNALISM paternalism (p·terˑ·n IN THE EARLY 1970s
The municipal and regional terrain again underwent dramatic change after the 1972 federal election of the Labor Whitlam Government, which sought a closer relationship with local government. In his pre-election policy speech, future PM Gough Whitlam promised that Labor would 'make local government a genuine partner in the federal system' (quoted in Wettenhall and Power, 1975, p. 203). Furthermore, he believed that 'some programs and services of government [were] most efficiently and effectively planned, coordinated, and delivered at a level intermediate to those of state and local government' (press statement quoted in Harris, 1976, p. 101). The result, according to Jones (1989, p. 163), was local government's rescue from 'long-term decline and impending im·pend
intr.v. im·pend·ed, im·pend·ing, im·pends
1. To be about to occur: Her retirement is impending.
2. irrelevance'. Labor saw local government as a convenient mechanism through which to pursue regional fiscal equalisation in terms of equity of access to public services Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing private provision of services. , especially in poorer outer metropolitan areas (Taylor and Garlick, 1989, p. 81). This arguably ar·gu·a·ble
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.
2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law. led to a major opportunity for local government to enter the national stage. The rhetoric and policy trajectory stood in contrast with the previous conservative government's establishment of the National Urban and Regional Development Authority, whose main task was to advise the Prime Minister, William McMahon Sir William McMahon, GCMG, CH (23 February 1908 – 31 March 1988), Australian politician and 20th Prime Minister of Australia, was born in Sydney, New South Wales, where his father was a lawyer. , and guide the making of grants to the states on urban and regional matters (Lloyd and Troy, 1981, pp. 20-1). But this was to be shut down by tumultuous change under PM Whitlam.
At least two major and directly related policy shifts arose. First, an overhaul of the Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC) led to substantial injection of funding to local authorities. This had to be carried out via the states because direct funding to local government is constitutionally unlawful. A referendum launched by the Whitlam government to overcome this problem was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, a new financial nexus between municipal and Commonwealth governments via the state governments provided a foundation for local government's maturity. The system, subject to sequential structural change (Johnson, 2003, p. 53), is still in place. Significantly, because the grants are unconditional, there is no assurance on how the moneys are spent. According to the Commonwealth, the main object of the 'general purpose' component of 'federal assistance grants' (FAGs) is to 'strengthen' local government and 'promote equity between councils' (Department of Transport and Regional Services (Cth), 2003, p. 29). Together with local rates, the FAG mechanism remains a centrepiece of Australian local government revenue.
Second, the Whitlam Government developed a novel way to disperse FAG revenue. Councils could only apply for funding through compulsorily established ROCS (originally known as 'regional assemblies'), a fresh regional structure established by Minister Uren's Department of Urban and Regional Development (DURD DURD During Descent ). Whilst the legislation enabled grants to be made directly to the ROCS themselves, this never took place (Else-Mitchell, 1976, p. 191; Fulop and Sheppard, 1988a, p. 6). Instead, the ROCS served as funding conduits for FAGs and other funding schemes (Advisory Council for Inter-Governmental Relations, 1986, p 55; Lloyd and Troy, 1981, pp. 157-192; Parker, 1978, p. 407; Miles, 1976, p. 180; Hawker, 1975, p. 28). In his autobiography, Uren described FAGS as 'the beginning of an evolutionary process that ... changed local ... politics forever' (1994, p. 270). Their purpose was not to supplement rate income but, in PM Whitlam's own words, to enable poorer councils 'to provide a standard of services to their communities that will be comparable with that enjoyed by communities elsewhere' (House of Representatives Parliamentary Debates, Hansard, 17 May 1973, 2304; see also Else-Mitchell, 1978, p. 75; Self, 1985, pp. 4, 46-7; DURD, 1975, p. 4). In order to move forward to regional social equity, the CGC undertook the complex task of surveying areas throughout the nation in terms of revenue-raising capacities and expenditure disabilities (Thomson, 1979, p. 90).
Membership of the Department of Urban and Regional Development's ROCS was limited to local government, with about 80 bodies inaugurated (Osborn and Robin, 1989, p. 51). Importantly, unlike the previous RDC RDC Republique Democratique du Congo (French)
RDC Rez de Chaussee (French: Ground Floor)
RDC Red Deer College
RDC Remote Desktop Connection (Microsoft)
RDC Rowan Companies, Inc system, the ROC system included metropolitan areas (Fulop and Sheppard, 1988b, p. 615; Huxley, 2000, p. 132). This highlights the peculiarity of countless current references to 'regional' Australia as meaning 'non-urban' Australia. As soon as one moves away from rural physiographic factors alone, social and economic dimensions demand inclusion of metropolitan areas and, indeed, the wider landscape.
The DURD invested substantial research into choosing relevant council boundaries, dismissing the 1940s lines as 'somewhat arbitrary' (DURD, 1975, p. 11). It divided metropolitan areas by means of socio-economic data whilst identifying rural regions through analyses of 'interaction of people and activities', with most attention given to the methodologically interesting notion of telephone trafnc (DURD, 1975, pp. 7-8, 19). Ecological factors played no role at all. Although the DURD did intend at a later stage to map 'large ecosystems' throughout Australia (DURD, 1975, p. 19), the system was disbanded before such opportunity arose. The Commonwealth never recognised natural resource management as an obvious ROC function. The primary aim was to help 'minimise spatial economic and social inequities' across regions through direct participation by a better-funded local government (Taylor and Garlick, 1989, p. 81).
The Whitlam/Uren ROCS never became major forces. The CGC regarded them as mere 'administrative devices' or 'post-offices' that collated funding submissions (Hawker, 1975, p. 28; see also Miles, 1976, p. 180; Parker, 1978, p. 407). Fulop and Sheppard (1988b, p. 615) describe the CGC as a politically conservative bureaucracy that refused to cooperate in what it saw as an intrusion into state territory. In any case, the level of CGC grants received by councils comprised 'a relatively minor part of that Government's spending on urban and regional development' (Manning, 1992, p. 50).
While the ROC system was driven by the underlying idea of socio-economic equity, it was only one of several regionalisation initiatives under the Whitlam/Uren government, with these other initiatives reflecting the paternalism of the administration more precisely. The Commonwealth instituted the Australia Assistance Plan (AAP), which established Regional Councils for Social Development to coordinate social welfare programs. These were very different to ROCs, being based on fresh boundaries and 'controlled by citizen's groups' rather than councils (Fulop and Sheppard, 1988b, p. 616). This imposition of jurisdiction by federal government helped fuel municipal discontent with Commonwealth regional policy. Fulop and Sheppard noted that councils 'either avoided the AAP or ... played an obstructionist role' (1988b, p. 615; see also Reddel, 2005, p. 191). Another strong regional scheme was the doomed Growth Centre Program, designed to facilitate decentralisation to selected centres with improved services. There were also further DURD projects, including the Area Improvement Program (AIP AIP acute intermittent porphyria.
AIP Acute intermittent porphyria ), which assisted the sustainability of active ROCS. Whilst the AIP placed emphasis on particular welfare, employment and infrastructural projects (Huxley, 2000, p. 133), in many circumstances it ceded total discretion on expenditure to ROCS and local authorities. In one instance, funds were used for controversial parkland development at Auburn in western Sydney, involving construction of an artificial hill (Lloyd and Troy, 1981, pp. 45-57). Interestingly, the location is now recognised by the local council as having significant potential for a habitat corridor, containing remnant patches of important ecological communities and an endangered plant species.
Power and Wettenhall (1976, p. 122) claim that other Commonwealth authorities were 'not far behind' in developing 'comprehensive regionalising schemes'. But the abundance of regional programs was poorly coordinated (Harris, 1976, p. 109; Wettenhall and Power, 1975, p. 207). Power and Wettenhall (1976, p. 119) go as far as to portray 'veritable chaos'. It must have provided a confusing milieu for local government which, apart from distant memories of the 1940s, was unfamiliar with Commonwealth interest, let alone enforced regional structures. Those councils that did exploit the ROC mechanism were far more interested in receiving money to supplement rate revenue and repay debts rather than embracing the Commonwealth's regional vision (Power and Wettenhall, 1976, p. 123; Fulop and Sheppard, 1988b, p. 615; Daly, 2000, p. 214).
State governments resented interference with their traditional jurisdictional territory, viewing the ROCS as an unnecessary tier of government that threatened their own power base. Councils adopted a similar view notwithstanding that notwithstanding; although.
See also: Notwithstanding DURD sought to strengthen local government's financial muscle (Chapman, 1997, p. 46; Harris, 1989, p. 120). The Commonwealth insisted that the ROC network could 'eventually lead to permanent forms of regional organisations without necessarily disrupting existing systems' (DURD, 1975, p. 2). Yet local government remained generally suspicious, seeing ROCS as a first step towards dismantling individual authorities (Chapman, 1997, p. 46; Harris, 1989, p. 120; Miles, 1976, p. 180; Parker, 1978, p. 405). Some councils were outright hostile (McPhail, 1978, p. 111; Bowman, 1983, p. 176). King (1978, p. 108) citeed the vitriolic remarks of one NSW councillor from Port Stephens Disambiguation: you may be looking for Port Stephens, Falkland Islands or Port Stephens LGA
Port Stephens is a large coastal inlet, located about 160 kilometres north-east of Sydney. challenging a $1M Commonwealth grant for employment purposes. Councils receiving minimal financial support were especially bitter (Self, 1985, p. 65). As a result, local government raised little resistance when the subsequent conservative Fraser Government, elected in 1975, stopped ROC support and shut down many federal regional programs. Councils were more preoccupied with coming to grips with managing their own undertakings rather than pursuing active participation in additional regional arrangements. As a result, the overwhelming majority of ROCS foundered.
The DURD's regional experiments were too short-lived to bear fruit. But even with more time, their downfall was probably inevitable. The concept of regional priorities being determined by structures imposed from above was arguably misplaced mis·place
tr.v. mis·placed, mis·plac·ing, mis·plac·es
a. To put into a wrong place: misplace punctuation in a sentence.
b. . In 1976, Harris suggested that:
'[i]t is hardly conceivable that a regional view could emanate em·a·nate
intr. & tr.v. em·a·nat·ed, em·a·nat·ing, em·a·nates
To come or send forth, as from a source: light that emanated from a lamp; a stove that emanated a steady heat. from a Regional Organisation of Councils, or that all local government areas within a defined region faced sufficiently common problems as local authorities to enable such a regional view to emerge' (1976, p. 103).
It appears that this criticism was based on the compulsory nature of the ROCS, together with the then limited outlook of individual councils, rather than any lack of appreciation of regional dimensions to municipal activity. Harris went on to refer to the 'significant advantages' of regional cooperation, noting that some functions such as 'physical and environmental planning decisions' were suitable for cross-boundary collaboration (1976, pp. 106-7). In similar fashion, Power and Wettenhall (1976, p. 118) argued that 'regionalism ... imposed from above is usually a weaker form than that which could emerge if the initiatives arose from within the region itself (see also Wettenhall and Power, 1975, p. 208; Gray, 2004). Grounds (1987, p. 1) is more direct in attributing the ROCs' ultimate failure to their involuntary nature. Morgan (1993, p. 4) holds a similar view, pointing to their 'prescriptive nature and undertones of compulsion'.
A handful of DURD ROCS have survived, including the Western Sydney ROC (WSROC WSROC Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (Australia) ), Illawarra ROC (IROC IROC International Race Of Champions
IROC Independent Rental Owners Council
IROC Independent Rental Owners Committee
IROC Instantaneous Rate of Change
IROC Integrated Repair Operations Center (Sprint)
IROC Intrusion-Resistant Optical Cable ) south of Sydney (now known as the 'Southern Councils Group') and the Hunter ROC (HROC HROC Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (African Great Lakes Initiative)
HROC House Republican Organizational Committee (Olympia, WA)
HROC Human Resources Orgware Consulting , renamed 'Hunter Councils Inc') in the Newcastle region. WSROC then represented Australia's most heavily funded region (Fulop and Sheppard, 1988b, p. 615; Fulop and Sheppard, 1988a, p. 6), which must have helped galvanise Verb 1. galvanise - to stimulate to action ; "..startled him awake"; "galvanized into action"
ball over, blow out of the water, floor, shock, take aback - surprise greatly; knock someone's socks off; "I was floored when I heard that I was municipal commitment. Those ROCS that outlasted the Fraser Government's cutbacks did so only because of financial and political support from member councils. They tended to be located in socially disadvantaged areas that had fared best under Whitlam's fiscal equalisation policies such as, notably, the AIP scheme.
It is at least feasible that the DURD's efforts helped lay groundwork for later regional municipal collaboration (McPhail, 1978, p. 111; Orchard, 1999b, p. 200). A novel, ongoing and evolving network of voluntary ROCS has since arisen from the ashes of DURD. Their purpose, however, is not to provide a channel for Commonwealth funding. Rather, they themselves seek revenue from any source available, with co-operative well-crafted grantsmanship grants·man·ship
The art of obtaining grants-in-aid.
[grant + (game)smanship.] skills derived from earlier experience. This tends to undermine any criticism that the DURD's efforts were merely fleeting. It should also be borne in mind that local government was then turning the corner into functional expansion. Land use planning
Land use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy which encompasses various disciplines which seek to order and regulate the use of land in an efficient and ethical way. schemes were emerging, albeit slowly (Wilcox, 1967, pp. 207-11), giving councils 'unprecedented power' to influence land value through zoning controls (Harrison, 1988, p. 27). In addition, some councils took the initiative to embrace the social environment, providing community, welfare and cultural services such as personal counselling, subsidised meals and arts festivals (Rentschler, 1997, pp. 130-3; Miles, 1976, p. 175; Walsh, 1989, p. 118). These fall within the broad umbrella of 'human' services (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration, 2003a, p. 10; Dollery, Wallis and Allan, 2006, p. 555; Dollery, 2005, p. 392). For those councils keen to modernise their portfolios, the Whitlam/Uren government provided considerable potential for new ideas.
4. THE COMMONWEALTH'S THIRD INITIATIVE: THE SELFSUFFICIENCY OF THE 1990s
The Commonwealth's third major entry into regional policy was heralded by the Taskforce on Regional Development which produced Developing Australia: A Regional Perspective, chaired by Bill Kelty Bill Kelty was a member of the Australian labour movement, who served as Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions during the 1980s and 1990s. He was one of the authors of The Accord between the unions and the Labor government, and was Paul Keating's witness to the (Australia. Taskforce on Regional Development, 1993). The report enjoyed wide release but received strong criticism due to the unrealisable hopes it engendered for new infrastructural investment throughout provincial Australia (Alexander, 1994, p. 6; Forth, 1996, pp. 76-8). Nevertheless, it prompted national debate on regional development which became a strong element in the Commonwealth's Working Nation policy (Fulop, 1997, p. 221; Keating, 1994). This was one of numerous contemporaneous con·tem·po·ra·ne·ous
Originating, existing, or happening during the same period of time: the contemporaneous reigns of two monarchs. See Synonyms at contemporary. documents on regional issues (Beer, 2000a, p. 176), including the prominent 'McKinsey Report' (McKinsey and Company, 1994) which has been widely regarded as the 'most influential' (Fulop and Brennan, 1997, p. 1; see also Beer, Maude and Pritchard, 2003, p. 15; Fulop, 1997, p. 221). After the Labor party came to power in 1983 under PM Bob Hawke Robert James Lee (Bob) Hawke, AC (born 9 December 1929) was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia and longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister.
After a decade as president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, he entered politics at the 1980 elections and , the Commonwealth instituted various regional arrangements but none directly involved local government (Beer, 2000a, pp. 175-6). A more fervent program based on 'strategic planning' arose after the takeover of PM Paul Keating For other persons named Paul Keating, see Paul Keating (disambiguation).
Paul John Keating (born 18 January 1944) was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, from 1991 to 1996. He came to prominence as the reforming Treasurer in the Hawke government from 1983. in 1991 (Beer, 2000a, p. 177).
Regional policy under Keating was very different from the Whitlam/Uren approach. It embraced a heavy emphasis on economic development (Hurley, 1994b, p. 23), still grounded on concerns about regional disparity but less anxious about redistributive fiscal justice. Whilst the initiative was politically expedient, it might be argued that it lacked any 'widely-shared' philosophical underpinning other than promoting economic efficiency (Hurley, 1994b, p. 25; see also Garlick, 1997, p. 277). More recent environmental imperatives such as 'ecologically sustainable development' (ESD (1) (Electronic Software Distribution) Distributing new software and upgrades via the network rather than individual installations on each machine. See ESL. ) were, according to Alexander (1994, p. 23), 'effectively sidestepped'.
Major differences from the earlier programs included modesty in funding (Sorensen, 1994) and a fresh vision of government as facilitator rather than the driving force (Taylor and Garlick, 1989, p. 99). The deal was to provide a climate for economic initiative from within the regional communities themselves (Martin and Woodhill, 1995, p. 174). Hurley (1994a, p. 5) deciphers the regions as 'units propelling the national economic wagon ... discouraged from seeing themselves as recipients of assistance from a state gravy train'. This ethos of regional self-help saw funds made available under the Regional Development Program (RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) The presentation services protocol that governs input/output between a Windows terminal client and Windows Terminal Server. It is based on the T.share protocol. See Windows Terminal Server.
(protocol) RDP -
1. ) for the establishment of voluntary structures, known as Regional Development Organisations (RDOs, originally known as Regional Economic Development Organisations), with membership determined by the regional communities themselves. The earlier pattern of enforced regionalisation was thus replaced with a novel form of centrally prodded regionalism--i.e. a federally supported and flexible bottom-up structure. Another parallel program was the establishment of Area Consultative Committees to assist local communities in improving employment levels and training schemes (Beer, 2000a, p. 176).
Because RDOs were to arise from the ground upwards, the issue of top-down boundary delineation became redundant. It was expected that regional leaders, from both the private and public sector, would join together to form the new bodies with their spatial areas of interest reflecting local economic catchments. RDOs did not emerge everywhere (Beer, 1999, p. 188), and some proved stronger than others. Municipal borders again formed the 'budding blocks' although according to Garlick (1999, p. 181), drawing firm lines at the periphery was not a major issue.
One reason for the formation of new bodies rather than utilising councils was the Commonwealth's belief that local government had not played 'a sufficiently active role' in regional economic development (Fulop and Brennan, 1997, p. 21; see also Munro, 1994, p. 15). According to Forth (1996, p. 81), the Commonwealth was initially unwilling to support RDOs that were 'effectively controlled' by local government. Yet such opposition ignored local government's traditional preoccupation with boosting local economic growth as had been recognised by PM Curtin as far back as the 1940s. As Marshall noted (1997, p. 13), the Working Nation document stipulated that local government was assumed to provide a 'key role ... in initiating and establishing RDOs'. Local government was quick to position itself as a key stakeholder stakeholder n. a person having in his/her possession (holding) money or property in which he/she has no interest, right or title, awaiting the outcome of a dispute between two or more claimants to the money or property. . It generally saw itself as having the 'biggest stake' in regional development, thereby wanting to 'play a dominating role' in controlling RDO (Remote Data Objects) A programming interface for data access from Microsoft. It is used in Visual Basic to access remote ODBC databases. See DAO, ADO, OLE DB and ODBC. agendas (Fulop and Brennan, 1997, p. 21). A survey of RDO personnel confirms local government's heavy involvement, including substantial contribution to RDO funding (Marshall, 1997, p. 13). Northwood (1995, p. 32) refers to Local government's 'pivotal' role, providing examples of close linkages between voluntary ROCs and RDOs.
In 1996, the newly elected Howard Government abolished the RDP, resulting in the dismantling of most RDOs across the country. Whilst some RDOs survived, in other places local government filled the gap via voluntary ROCS. It appears that regional economic development has since been a dominating concern in voluntary ROC circles. Significantly, the Commonwealth never dictated the functions of RDOs but made funds available for the preparation of regional economic strategies. Implementation of such strategies, of course, was scarcely straightforward (Murphy and Walker, 1995, p. 128). The RDOs had no political constituency, organisational experience or reliable income beyond the lifetimes of their grants. It is interesting to speculate whether local government, given the same opportunity, would have achieved more.
A chief lesson from the RDP experience is the sheer vulnerability of central government regional programs. Despite the potential popularity of a regional scheme, it will always be liable to abandonment upon change in political direction. There is, of course, no lasting tradition of regional structures in Australia. But the RDP did attract a level of council interest that had been absent during previous excursions into the regional arena. This may be explained, in part, by local government having become a far more aggressive and sophisticated institution. But more importantly, RDOs were voluntary. Local government was prepared to jostle with other stakeholders to claim its share of the funding pie and play an active role in shaping regional priorities. It did not want to be left behind, believing it had an essential, if not the cardinal, contribution to make. This illustrates the point that bottom-up regionalism re·gion·al·ism
a. Political division of an area into partially autonomous regions.
b. Advocacy of such a political system.
2. Loyalty to the interests of a particular region.
3. is unlikely to emerge by itself but requires some form of financial, administrative and/or policy push. It also exemplifies modern local government's keen nose for new funding sources (Harris, 1976, p. 106).
A significant result of RDO activity was unevenness. Some regions suffering from 'geographical spread, lack of regional identity or political disunity' suffered from obvious disadvantages (Murphy and Walker, 1995, p. 125). Remoteness and sparseness of populations will always mitigate against successful cross-boundary structures. Additional funding to bring people together may help. Yet most successful RDOs depended largely on 'personality and local goodwill' (Murphy and Walker, 1995, p. 125). Such ingredients are vital. They will not be manufactured by legislation or new funding sources alone.
5. SUBSEQUENT DIRECTIONS
After the fall of the Keating Government in 1996 and the ascendancy of conservative PM John Howard For other persons of the same name, see John Howard (disambiguation).
John Winston Howard (born 26 July 1939) is an Australian politician and the 25th Prime Minister of Australia. , the Commonwealth initially set up no major regional structures after dispensing with the RDP (Beer, 1999, p. 188). Yet the claim that Commonwealth interest in regional development policy 'evaporated' (Beer, 2000b, p. 114) under the Howard Government can be assessed, with hindsight, to be overstated o·ver·state
tr.v. o·ver·stat·ed, o·ver·stat·ing, o·ver·states
To state in exaggerated terms. See Synonyms at exaggerate.
o . The Commonwealth did not ignore local problems, especially after its re-election in 2002 when rural councils could compete against a wide spectrum of community bodies for funding under a variety of programs (Beer, Maude and Pritchard, 2003, pp. 261-2). These were not driven by environmental needs, but by community wants. It is arguable ar·gu·a·ble
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.
2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law. that such moves were designed to assuage as·suage
tr.v. as·suaged, as·suag·ing, as·suag·es
1. To make (something burdensome or painful) less intense or severe: assuage her grief. See Synonyms at relieve.
2. disgruntled dis·grun·tle
tr.v. dis·grun·tled, dis·grun·tling, dis·grun·tles
To make discontented.
[dis- + gruntle, to grumble (from Middle English gruntelen; see rural citizens, who saw themselves as left behind in the expanding benefits of national urban economic growth. In fact, the level of funding was higher than what had been offered under PM Keating (Beer, Maude and Pritchard, 2003, p. 261). Again, local government was only one party at the coalface. This was a time of increasing demands on councils, many of which might have regarded the new arrangements as peripheral.
Collits (2007, pp. 186-7) also draws attention to a later initiative of the Howard government to establish a panel to undertake 'Regional Business Development Analysis'. Similar to PM Keating's experiment; this afforded a funded 'bottom-up' approach but did not establish or even support any particular regional arrangements. Instead, it relied on the three spheres of government operating together in a strategic manner. Whilst the concept may have offered some benefits, it was cut short. Perhaps the traditional local political fear against regional government remained afoot.
Moreover, the Howard government continued to fund the Area Consultative Committees initiated by the Keating government in 1994, although the role of these Committees changed from one being concerned principally with the issue of regional employment (as was initially stipulated with their formation under the Employment Services Act 1994) (Albanese, 2008, p.2), to funding a variety of types of projects, including educational programs, business alliances, investment strategies, adjustment packages and grant writing workshops, all under an extended charter within the framework of the Regional Partnerships Program. While there was no mandated involvement of local government, the interface in terms of projects and personnel was in some instances marked (see, for example, NENWACC, 2002).
Two other areas of policy pursued by the Howard government involved significant funds being directed toward the regions. The first of these was the use of Natural Resource Management (NRM NRM Natural Resources Management
NRM National Railway Museum (UK)
NRM Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, Massachusetts)
NRM National Resistance Movement (Uganda) ) bodies to address environmental degradation and ecological sustainability. Summarising this effort, Moore (2005, p. 123) noted that National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality Program (NAP) was initially targeted at 21 'designated priority catchment catch·ment
1. A catching or collecting of water, especially rainwater.
a. A structure, such as a basin or reservoir, used for collecting or draining water.
b. areas across Australia' and as such was regionally directed. It involved initial funding of $1.4 billion over seven years. Although a proportion of the initial funding came from state and territory governments, it was topped up through a National Heritage Trust amount of $1.5 billion in 2001, with a further $300 million added in 2004 to cover all 56 regions in Australia This is a list of regions in Australia that are not Australian states or territories. Note that the regions in this list do not necessarily have any official status. Multi-state/territorial
The second major initiative taken by the Howard government was the Roads to Recovery (R2R R2R Roll-To-Roll (manufacturing)
R2R Roadmap to Riches (multilevel marketing program)
R2R Roadmap to Riches
R2R Ready 2 Rumble (video game by Midway) ) funding, designed to address the problem of local road infrastructure nearing the end of its useful life and where replacement costs were deemed to be outside the financial capability of local government. Summarising this funding, Dollery, Pape and Byrnes (2006, pp. 2-3) noted that 70 percent of the initial $1.2 billion (or $850 million) was designated to rural and regional Australia from the period January 2001 to June 2005. Additionally, a 2002 review of the program extended this funding to 2009 with an additional $2.55 billion in funding. While Dollery, Pape and Byrnes (2006, p. 3) noted the program was subject to the [pedestrian] criticism of pork-barrelling, of far more significance were their observations that 'R2R has broken with longstanding tradition in Australian fiscal federalism federalism.
1 In political science, see federal government.
2 In U.S. history, see states' rights.
Political system that binds a group of states into a larger, noncentralized, superior state while allowing them by its sheer scale in bypassing state and territory governments that have typically redistributed federal funding to local government through their Local Government Grants Commissions.' Moreover, they speculated that 'it may also violate the Constitution' and sought to demonstrate how this view could be taken (Dollery, Pape and Byrnes, 2006, pp. 7-12).
Taken together, the federal funding of NRM bodies at a regional level and the funding of the R2R program directly to local government would appear to signify a break with post-war liberal governments' scaling down of programmatic pro·gram·mat·ic
1. Of, relating to, or having a program.
2. Following an overall plan or schedule: a step-by-step, programmatic approach to problem solving.
3. financial commitment to regional development relative to their Labor counterparts, and to the financial support of local government in particular. Further, a recent challenge to the federal government's legality in delivering its 'Nation Budding and Jobs Plan' in the High Court by Pape in Pape vs. Commissioner of Taxation of Australia (2009) (High Court of Australia The High Court of Australia is the final court of appeal in Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, has the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the , 2009) signalled the potential for continued constitutional implications. While on the one hand ALGA President Geoff Lake welcomed the High Court's decision to reject the constitutional challenge to the Federal Government's stimulus package, with its potential implication that 'councils [would be] required to pay back in the order of $6 billion of [federal] funding that has flowed to local government over the last few years', on the other hand, he stated that: 'the uncertainty that this case created has the potential to arise again and indeed a differently composed High Court in the future could well decide these sorts of matters in a different way'; further asserting that the issue of funding would not be resolved until the Constitution was amended such that Federal government could directly fund local government (Government News, 2009). We will return to this issue in our concluding remarks below.
Arguably, however, the greatest legacy of the Howard government to regional policy and local government was its launching of major reports emphasising the financial un-sustainability of local government (see Brown, 2005, pp. 29-32), including Rates and Taxes: A Fair Share for Responsible Local government (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration, 2003a; known as the 'Hawker Report'). This key document, preceded by At the Crossroads--A Discussion Paper (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration, 2003b), has been dubbed 'the most comprehensive recent diagnosis on the ills of Australian local government' (Dollery, 2005, p. 385). It highlighted local government's entrenched en·trench also in·trench
v. en·trenched, en·trench·ing, en·trench·es
1. To provide with a trench, especially for the purpose of fortifying or defending.
2. nature, functional expansion and ballooning financial desperation, even warning councils against entering functional territory beyond their financial capacity (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration, 2003a, pp. 14-5). This latter concern was re-echoed by the recent 'FiscalStar' report which warned that 'financially unsustainable' councils 'face substantial rates/prices hikes or drastic services cutbacks (or both)' (FiscalStar Services Pty Ltd, 2008, p. 4). The response, undoubtedly, will be an ongoing march in favour of reduction of council numbers. In his discussion of the Hawker Report, Dollery (2005, p. 389) attacked its consideration of the 'advantages' of enforced amalgamation as 'draconian'. At the same time, the Hawker Report also considered the benents of a direct financial pipeline from the Commonwealth to local government, harking back to the Whitlam era (Brown, 2005, p. 30). Overall, the Howard government did not forsake local government. Yet more was needed than thoughtful and disturbing reports and targeted funding programs for the electorally sensitive issues such of environmental sustainability and local roads.
The historical narrative sketched in this paper offers more than a fascinating story of municipal history. Whilst cross-boundary approaches appear more than desirable, the history of regional structures pushed by the Commonwealth government suggests implementation is another matter altogether. Despite various experiments, regional bodies with political power have never become a fixed part of the enduring regional administrative landscape. Commonwealth regionalisation in particular has always been controversial. Attempts to impose regional institutions from above have overwhelmingly failed due to a combination of poor planning, insufficient support, change in political climate and opposition from other spheres of government. Local government has traditionally displayed a negative attitude, concerned about loss of dignity and potential amalgamation. Yet its experience with the RDP during the 1990s signalled a softening of its conventional 'dog in the manger' mindset mind·set or mind-set
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.
2. An inclination or a habit. .
However, it cannot be overlooked that local government is far more sophisticated than it was over a decade ago. Whilst this may not be the case for remote struggling authorities, such councils are still vital to their local communities. What is most interesting is that councils are becoming more confident in budding up alliances and devising protocols with other local bodies, government agencies, the private sector and social organisations. The spectrum of efficient, flexible and legitimate models is wide (Dollery and Johnson, 2005; Dollery and Johnson, 2007). Even upwards delegation of specified functions to statutory regional bodies, such as county councils in NSW, provides an option (Kelly, 2003). It is here where improved cross-border approaches may evolve without direct requirements imposed from above. The FAG system could be reviewed with a separate portion of funding devoted to acceptable regional planning, leaving elected councils to design their own preferred subsystems. This could demonstrate consistency with the subsidiarity subsidiarity
the principle of taking political decisions at the lowest practical level
Noun 1. subsidiarity - secondary importance
subordinateness principle, which has yet to be largely accepted in Australia (Aulich, 2005, p. 209). Any council that chooses not to be involved will receive no funding and remain answerable an·swer·a·ble
1. Subject to being called to answer; accountable. See Synonyms at responsible.
2. That can be answered or refuted: an answerable charge.
3. to its electorate. Regional environmental management would be a good place to revise, revitalise or start anew. Flexibility rather than rigidity must be the key.
Beyond these positive, although incremental initiatives, the fact remains that the Commonwealth government is the only sphere with sufficient resources to support regional structures (Beer, 2000a, p. 170). The Howard government's funding of both NRM and R2R, when placed in historical continuum with the recent initiatives of the Rudd government, including the funding of the Local Infrastructure Program to the amount of $800 million (thus far) and the initiation of the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG ACLG Air Cushion Landing Gear ) in late 2008 under the newly christened Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (DTIRDLG, 2009) may signal a bipartisan approach (albeit by default) toward what Brown (2005, pp. 17-18) then regarded as highly unlikely, namely 'a reversion reversion: see atavism. to an interventionist, Keynesian or high investment approach'. Moreover, for the first time, constitutional recognition is not just a partisan political issue (as it was in 1974 and, to a lesser extent, in 1988), but has to be explored through the High Court and canvassed more broadly throughout the polity.
Advisory Council for Inter-Governmental Relations (1986) Consultation and Co-ordination for Matters Affecting Australian Local Government. Tasmanian Government Printer: Hobart.
Albanese, A. Rt. Hon (2008). 'Regional Development Australia'. Statement by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon. Anthony Albanese Anthony Norman Albanese (born 2 March 1963), Australian politician, has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives since March 1996, representing the Division of Grayndler, New South Wales. , MP. Available at: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/regional/publications/pdf/ RegionalDevelopment_Australia_ min_stmt_final_version_20Mar08.pdf. Consulted 16 April 2009.
Alexander, I. (1994) DURD revisited? Federal policy initiatives for urban and regional planning 1991-94. Urban Policy and Research, 12(1), pp. 6-26.
Aulich, C. (2005) Australia: Still a tale of Cinderella? In B. Denters and L. Rose (eds), Comparing Local Governance: Trends and Developments. Palgrave Macmillan: Houndsville.
Australia. Taskforce on Regional Development (1993) Developing Australia: A Regional Perspective (chaired by Bill Kelty, Report to the Hon A. G. Griffiths, MP, Minister for Industry, Technology and Regional Development). The Taskforce: Canberra.
Barrett, B. (1979) The Civic Frontier. Melbourne University Press: Melbourne.
Beer, A. (1999) Regional economic arrangements in Australia. In J. Dore and J. Woodhill (eds), Sustainable Regional Development Sustainable regional development is the application of sustainable development at a regional, rather than local, national or global level. It differs to regional development per se, as the latter is a term used more generally to describe economic development that emphasises the : Final Report: An Australian-Wide Study of Regionalism Highlighting Efforts to Improve the Community, Economy and Environment. Greening Australia Greening Australia is an Australian conservation organization, founded in 1982, the International Year of the Tree, to preserve and protect Australia's native vegetation. Ltd: Canberra.
Beer, A. (2000a) Regional policy and development in Australia. In B. Pritchard and P. McManus (eds), Land of Discontent: The Dynamics of Change in Rural and Regional Australia. UNSW UNSW University of New South Wales (Australia)
UNSW Unidentified Swallow
UNSW United Nations Scholars' Workstation (Yale University) Press: Sydney.
Beer, A. (2000b) Listening, talking and acting: A new approach to regional policy and practice in Australia? Australian Planner, 37(3), pp. 114-119. Beer, A., Maude, A. and Pritchard, B. (2003) Developing Australia's Regions: Theory and Practice. UNSW Press: Sydney.
Bowman, M. (1983) Local government in Australia Australia has two tiers of subnational government: state (or territory) government and local government. This article deals with local government. See States and territories of Australia for information on state government. . In M. Bowman and W. Hampton, (eds), Local Democracies: A Study in Comparative Local Government Longman Cheshire: Melbourne.
Brown, A. J. (2005) Regional governance and regionalism in Australia. In R. Eversole and J. Martin (eds), Participation and Governance in Regional Development: Perspectives from Australia. Ashgate: Aldershot.
Byrnes, J., Dollery, B. E., Crase, L. and Simmons, P. (2008) Resolving the infrastructure crisis in local government: A bond market issue approach based on local council income. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies 14(2), pp. 115-131.
(CDPWR) (Commonwealth Department of Post-War Reconstruction). (1949). Regional Planning in Australia. Commonwealth Department of Post-War Reconstruction: Australia.
CGC (Commonwealth Grants Commission) (2001) Review of the Operation of Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. Australian Government: Canberra.
Chapman, R. (1997) Intergovernmental relations. In B. E. Dollery, and N. A. Marshall (eds), Australian Local Government: Reform and Renewal. Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne.
Collits, P. (2007) Planning for regions in Australia. In S. Thompson, (ed), Planning Australia: An Overview of Urban and Regional Planning. Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). : Melbourne.
Daly, M. (2000) The challenges for local government in the 21St Century. In B. Pritchard, and P. McManus (eds), Land of Discontent: The Dynamics of Change in Rural and Regional Australia. UNSW Press: Sydney.
DITRDLG (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) (Cth), (2009) 'Local Government'. Available at: http://www.infrastructure.eov.au/ local/index.aspx. Consulted 16 April 2009.
Dollery, B. E. (2005) A critical evaluation of structural reform considerations in Rates and Taxes: a Fair Share for Responsible Local Government, Australian Geographer, 36(3), pp. 385-397.
Dollery, B. E., Byrnes, J. D. and Crase, L. (2007a). An analysis of the new perspective on amalgamation in Australian local government. Working Paper 02-2007, Centre for Local Government, University of New England The University of New England can refer to:
Dollery, B. E., Byrnes, J. D. and Crase, L (2007b) The infrastructure crisis in Australian local government: A proposed federal asset fund solution' Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 13(1), pp. 3-19.
Dollery, B. E. and Crase, L. (2006) A comparative perspective on financial sustainability in Australian local government. Working Paper 01-2006, Centre for Local Government, University of New England: Armidale. Available at: http://www.une.edu.au/clg/wp/01-2006.pdf. Consulted 16 July 2008.
Dollery, B. E., Crase, L. and Johnson, A. (2006) Australian Local Government Economics. UNSW Press: Sydney.
Dollery, B. E. and Johnson, A. (2007) An analysis of the joint board or county model as the structural basis for effective Australian local governance. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 6(2), pp. 198-209.
Dollery, B. E. and Johnson, A. (2005) Enhancing efficiency in Australian local government: An evaluation of alternative models of municipal governance. Urban Policy and Research, 23(1), pp. 73-85.
Dollery, B. E., Pape, B. and Byrnes, J. D. (2006) An Assessment of the Australian Government's Roads to Recovery Program. Working Paper 03-2006, Centre for Local Government, University of New England: Armidale. Available at: http://www.une.edu.au/clg/wp/03-2006.pdf. Consulted 16 July 2008.
Dollery, B. E., Wallis, J. L. and Allan, P. (2006) The debate That had to happen but never did: The changing role of Australian local government. Australian Journal of Political Science, 41(4), pp. 553-567.
Dore, J., Woodhill, J., Andrews, K. and Keating, C. (2003). Sustainable regional development: Lessons from Australian efforts. In S. Dowers and S. Wild River, (eds), Managing Australia's Environment Federation Press: Sydney.
DOTARS (Department of Transport and Regional Services) (Cth), (2003) 2002-2003 Report on the Operation of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. National Office of Local Government: Canberra.
DURD (Department of Urban and Regional Development) (Cth), (1975) Regions: Suggested Delimitation of Regions for the Purposes of Section 17, Grants Commission Act 1973. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
Else-Mitchell, R. (1978) Local government finance: Commentary. In R. Mathews (ed), Local Government in Transition: Responsibilities, Finances, Management Centre for Research on Federal Financial Relations, Australian National University: Canberra.
Else-Mitchell, R. (1976) Decentralising Adj. 1. decentralising - tending away from a central point
centralising, centralizing - tending to draw to a central point
centralising, centralizing - tending to draw to a central point government through regions and local authorities. Io R. Mathews, R. Making Federalism Work: Towards a More Efficient, Equitable and Responsive Federal System. Centre for Research on Federal Financial Relations, Australian National University: Canberra.
FiscalStar Services Pty Ltd (2008) The Financial Sustainability of the Existing Financial and Infrastructure Policies of NSW Councils 2008 Review. FiscalStar Services Pty Ltd: Sydney.
Forth, G. (1996) Redrawing the map of Australia: The Commonwealth Regional Development Program. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 2(1), pp. 75-86.
Frawley, K. (1994) Evolving visions: Environmental management and nature conservation in Australia Conservation in Australia is an issue of state and federal policy. Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, with a large portion of species endemic to Australia. Preserving this wealth of biodiversity is important for future generations. . In S. Dowers (ed.), Australian Environmental History: Essays and Cases. Oxford University Press: Melbourne.
FSRB (Financial Sustainability Review Board) (2005) Rising to the Challenge. South Australian Local Government Association: Adelaide.
Fulop, L. (1997) Competitive regionalism in Australia: Sub-metropolitan case study. In M. Keating and J. Loughlin, (eds), The Political Economy of Regionalism. Frank Cass: London.
Fulop, L. and Brennan, M. (1997) Meeting the Challenge: Regional Economic Development Organisations (RDOs) in Australia. Australian Local Government Association: Canberra.
Fulop, L. and Sheppard, D. (1988a) The life and death of regional initiatives in western Sydney: The case of the Local Government Development Programme. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 12(2), pp. 609-626.
Fulop, L. and Sheppard, D. (1988b) 'Reviving regional initiatives in Western Sydney'. Working Paper No. 38, Nepean College of Advanced Education: Sydney.
Garlick, S. (1997) Regional economic development: New partnership challenges for local government. In B. E. Dollery, and N. A. Marshall, (eds), Australian Local Government: Reform and Renewal. Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne.
Garlick, S. (1999) The Australian history of government intervention in regional development. In J. Dore and J. Woodhill (eds), Sustainable Regional Development: Final Report: An Australian-Wide Study of Regionalism Highlighting Efforts to Improve the Community, Economy and Environment Greening Australia Ltd: Canberra.
Government News. (2009) 'High Court ruling a win to councils, but uncertainty remains over future funding'. Available at: http://www.governmentnews.com.au/ news/article/GYNQFVLULLhtml. Consulted 16 April 2009.
Gray, I. (2004) What is regionalism? In W Hudson and A. J Brown (eds), Restructuring Australia: Regionalism, Republicanism and Reform of the Nation-State. The Federation Press: Sydney.
Grounds, R. (1987) Regional Organisations of Councils in Australia. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
Harris, C. (1976) Regional and local government policies in Australia, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 35(2), pp. 101-113.
Harris, C. (1989) Local government and regional planning. In B. Higgins. and K. Zagorski, (eds), Australian Regional Developments. Readings in Regional Experiences, Policies and Prospects. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
Harrison, P. (1988) Urban planning urban planning: see city planning.
Programs pursued as a means of improving the urban environment and achieving certain social and economic objectives. and urban issues: 1951-72, Australian Planner, 26(3), pp. 26-27.
Hawker, G. (1975) The Australian government and local government: What is happening? CurrentAffairs Bulletin, 52(1), pp. 21-30.
High Court of Australia. (2009) Pape v The Commissioner of Taxation of the Commonwealth of Australia Commonwealth of Australia: see Australia.  HCATrans 61 (1 April 2009). Available at: http://www.austlu.edu.au/ au/other/HCATrans/2009/. Consulted 16 April 2009.
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration (2003a) Rates and Taxes: A Fair Share ,for Responsible Local Government ('Hawker Report'). Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra.
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration (2003b) At the Crossroads--A Discussion Paper. Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra.
House of Representatives Parliamentary Debates, Hansard, 17 May 1973, 2034.
Hurley, F. (1994a) Regional development policy in the big picture, Australian Journal of Regional Studies, 8, pp. 1-11.
Hurley, F. (1994b) The issue attention cycle and regional development: Is it really back on the political agenda? Regional Policy and Practice, 3(2), pp. 19-28.
Huxley, M. (2000) Administrative coordination, urban management and strategic planning in the 1970s. In S. Hamnett and R. Freestone free·stone
1. A stone, such as limestone, that is soft enough to be cut easily without shattering or splitting.
2. A fruit, especially a peach, that has a stone that does not adhere to the pulp. See Regional Note at andiron. , (eds), The Australian Metropolis: A Planning History. Allen & Unwin: Sydney.
Johnson, A. (2003) Financing local government in Australia. In B. E. Dollery, N. A. Marshall and A. Worthington, (eds), Reshaping Australian Local Government UNSW Press: Sydney.
Jones, M. (1989) Managing Local Government. Leadership for the 21st Century. Hargreen Publishing Company: Melbourne.
Keating, P., the Hon. Prime Minister of Australia The office of Prime Minister of Australia is, in practice, the most powerful political office in the Commonwealth of Australia. The Prime Minister is the head of government of Australia and holds office on commission from the Governor-General. (1994) Working Nation. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
Kelly, A. (2003) NSW county councils: their emergence, demise and potential resurrection, Local Government Law Journal, 9(2), pp. 63-72.
King, J. (1978) Waltzing Materialism. Harper & Row: Sydney.
Larcombe, F. (1973) The Origin of Local Government in New South Wales 183158. Sydney University Press Sydney University Press http://www.sup.usyd.edu.au/operated as a traditional press from 1962 to 1987 and was re-established in 2003 under the management of the University of Sydney Library http://www.library.usyd.edu. : Sydney.
LGAQ (Local Government Association of Queensland Inc.) (2006) Size, Shape and Sustainability: Guidelines Kit. Local Government Association of Queensland: Brisbane.
LGI ('Allan Report') (Independent Inquiry into Local Government) (2006) Are Councils Sustainable? Final Report: Findings and Recommendations. NSW Local Government and Shires Association: Sydney.
LGAT (Local Government Association of Tasmania Report) (2007) A Review of the Financial Sustainability of Local Government in Tasmania. Local Government Association of Tasmania: Hobart.
Lloyd, C. and Troy, P. (1981) Innovation and Reaction: The Life and Death of the Federal Department of Urban and Regional Development. George Allen and Unwin: Sydney.
Maiden, H. (1966) The History of Local Government in New South Wales. Angus and Robertson: Sydney.
Manning, I. (1992) General purpose grants to local government: An efficiency oriented program, National Economic Review, issue 19, pp. 49-90.
Marshall, N. (2008) 'Local Government Reforms in Australia', in B. E. Dollery, J. Garcea and E. LeSage, (eds) Local Government Reform. A Comparative Analysis of Advanced Anglo-American Countries, Edward Elgar Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English Romantic composer. Several of his first major orchestral works, including the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, were greeted with acclaim. : Cheltenham.
Marshall, N. (1997) Introduction: Themes and issues in Australian local government. In B. E. Dollery and N. A. Marshall, (eds), Australian Local Government: Reform and Renewal. Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne.
Martin, P. and J. Woodhill (1995) Landcare in the balance: government roles and policy issues in sustaining rural environments, Australian Journal of Environmental Management, 2(3), pp. 173-183.
McKinsey and Company (1994) Lead Local Complete Global: Unlocking the Growth Potential of Australia's Regions. Commissioned by the Office of Regional Development, Department of Housing and Regional Development: Sydney.
McMullin, R. (2000) Joseph Benedict Chifley. In M. Granan, (ed.), Australian Prime Ministers. New Holland: Sydney.
McPhail, I. (1978) Local government. In P. Troy, (ed), Federal Power in Australia's Cities. Hale & Ironmonger ironmonger - [IBM] A hardware specialist (derogatory). Compare sandbender, polygon pusher. : Sydney.
Miles, N. (1976) Local government and the federal initiatives. In R. Mathews, (ed), Making Federalism Work: Towards a More Efficient, Equitable and Responsive Federal System. Centre for Research on Federal Financial Relations, Australian National University: Canberra.
Moore, S. A. (2005). 'Regional Delivery of Natural Resource Management in Australia: Is it Democratic and Does it Matter? In Eversole, R. and Martin, J. (2005). Participation and Governance in Regional Development. Global Trends in an Australian Context, Ashgate: Aldershot.
Morgan, C. (1993) Productive Partnerships: Towards Regional Prosperity. Office of Local Government (Cth): Canberra.
Munro, A. (1994) Getting Regions to Work: A Community Based Approach to Integrated Regional Management. Municipal Association of Victoria: Melbourne.
Murphy, T. and Walker, G. (1995) A new phase in Australian regional development? Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 1(119), pp. 119-132.
Neutze, M. (1989) Urban Development. In B. Higgins and K. Zagorski, (eds), Australian Regional Developments. Readings in Regional Experiences, Policies and Prospects. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
NENWACC (New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. Northwest Area Consultative Committee) (2002), 'NENWACC News December 2002'. URL URL
in full Uniform Resource Locator
Address of a resource on the Internet. The resource can be any type of file stored on a server, such as a Web page, a text file, a graphics file, or an application program. : http://www.nenwacc.corn.au/Documents/ Newsletters/ACC%20NE W SLETTER.pdf. Consulted 16 Apri12006.
NOLG (National Office of Local Government). (2003). 2001-02 Report on the operation of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. National Office of Local Government, Department of Transport and Regional Services, Canberra.
Northwood, K. (1995) From Parochialism to Partnership: A Report on Case Studies of Tjoluntary Regional Organisations of Councils and the Regional Development Organisations. National Committee on Regional Cooperation: Canberra.
Orchard, L. (1999a) Shifting visions in national and urban and regional policy 1, Australian Planner, 36(1), pp. 20-25.
Orchard, L. (1999b) Shifting visions in national and urban and regional policy 2, Australian Planner, 36(4), pp. 200-209.
Osborn, D. and Robin, G. (1989) Local government support networks. In Australian Local Government Association (ed.), The Australian Local Government Handbook. Australian Government Publishing Service.
Parker, R. (1978) The Government of New South Wales The form of the Government of New South Wales is prescribed in its Constitution, which dates from 1856, although it has been amended many times since then. Since 1901, New South Wales has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Australian Constitution regulates its . University of Queensland The University of Queensland (UQ) is the longest-established university in the state of Queensland, Australia, a member of Australia's Group of Eight, and the Sandstone Universities. It is also a founding member of the international Universitas 21 organisation. Press: Brisbane.
Power, J. and Wettenhall, R. (1976) Regional government versus regional programs, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 35(2), pp. 114-129.
Power, J., Wettenhall, R. and Halligan, J. (1981) Overview of local government in Australia. In J. Power, R. Wettenhall and J. Halligan (eds), Local Government Systems of Australia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
PWC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) (2006) National Financial Sustainability Study of Local Government. PriceWaterhouseCoopers: Sydney.
Purdie, D. (1976) Local Government in Australia. Reformation or Regression? Law Book Company: Sydney.
Reddel, T. (2005) Local social governance and citizen engagement. In P. Smith, T. Reddel and A. Jones (eds), Community and Local Governance in Australia. UNSW Press: Sydney.
Rentschler, R. (1997) Community and cultural participation. In B. E. Dollery and N. A. Marshall, (eds), Australian Local Government: Reform and Renewal Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne.
Sandercock, L. (1975) Cities for Sale: Property, Politics and Urban Planning in Australia. Melbourne University Press: Melbourne.
Self, P. (chairperson), (1985) National Inquiry into Local Government Finance Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
Sorensen, T. (1994) Editorial: On the White Paper, Working Nation, Regional Policy and Practice, 3(1), pp. 2-4.
Taylor, M. and Garlick, S. (1989) Commonwealth government involvement in regional development in the 1980s: A local approach. In B. Higgins and K. Zagorski, (eds), Australian Regional Developments. Readings in Regional Experiences, Policies and Prospects. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
Taylor, M. (1990) Regional decentralisation: Push or pull? In Economic Planning economic planning, control and direction of economic activity by a central public authority. In its modern usage, economic planning tends to be pitted against the laissez-faire philosophy which developed in the 18th cent. Advisory Council (ed.), Regional Policies: Future Directions. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.
Thomson, N. (1979) Local government and the Grants Commissions, The Australian Quarterly, 51(3), pp. 89-97.
Uren, T. (1994) Straight Left. Random House: Sydney.
Vince, A. (1997) Amalgamations. In B. E. Dollery and N. A. Marshall, (eds), Australian Local Government: Reform and Renewal. Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne.
WALGA (Western Australian Local Government Association) (2006) Systemic Sustainability Study: In Your Hands--Shaping the Future of Local Government in Western Australia. Western Australian Local Government Association: Perth.
Walsh, C. (1989) Financing local government in the Australian federal system: What case is there for reform? In Australian Local Government Association (ed.), The Australian Local Government Handbook. Australian Government Publishing Service.
Wettenhall, R. and Power, J. (1975) Regionalisation and public administration in Australia. In R. Mathews, (ed), Responsibility Sharing in a Federal System. Centre for Research on Federal Financial Relations, Australian National University: Canberra.
Wilcox, M. (1967) The Law of Land Development in New South Wales. Law Book Company Ltd: Sydney.
Andrew H. Kelly
Faculty of Law and Institute for Conservation Biology conservation biology
The branch of biology that deals with the effects of humans on the environment and with the conservation of biological diversity. and Law, University of Wollongong History
The University of Wollongong was founded in 1951 when a Division of the then New South Wales University of Technology (re-named the University of New South Wales in 1958) was established in Wollongong. , NSW 2252.
Centre for Local Government, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351.
Centre for Local Government, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351.
(1) The authors thank two anonymous referees for helpful comments on an earlier draft of the paper. Brian Dollery would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP0770520.