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Title: Councils in Cooperation: Shared Services and Australian Local Government
Contributor(s): Dollery, Brian E  (author); Grant, Bligh  (author); Kortt, Michael A  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
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Abstract: Local government can be described as 'the poor cousin' of the Australian system of government compared with its more august Commonwealth and State government counterparts in terms of the attention it has attracted from both the popular press and the scholarly community. This state of affairs is most unfortunate. Not only does local government play a vital role in the daily lives of almost all Australians by providing them with a myriad of local services essential for health and wellbeing, but it is also a significant part of the national economy. For instance, according to the 'Local Government National Report 2007-08', in 2007-08 total local government expenditure equated to approximately 1.9 per cent of gross domestic product and it directly employed over 170,000 people (DITRDLG, 2010, 3). However, this understates the fundamental importance of local government, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia, where it is a major employer and often a critical element in the local economy. Furthermore, its significance extends far beyond its economic magnitude to less tangible avenues of human experience, including its role in place-shaping which provides a key ingredient to the sense of belonging people have with their local communities. A second unfortunate aspect of the neglect of Australian local government by Australian scholars resides in the fact that it is undergoing a period of severe fiscal stress, which shows no signs of abating, and which is having debilitating effects. A host of State and national inquiries over the past decade have established beyond doubt that not only is the financial viability of a significant number of local councils in question, but a massive local infrastructure backlog has also developed as local authorities strive to maintain solvency by diverting scarce funds away from infrastructure investment and maintenance into day-to-day service provision. The pecuniary magnitude of local infrastructure depletion is now so advanced that many local authorities have no hope undertaking adequate remedial action with only their own resources. While widespread unanimity exists in the local government sector on the causes and consequences of the fiscal crisis, there is no corresponding agreement on the best policy measures for ameliorating the problem.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: Federation Press
Place of Publication: Annandale, Australia
ISBN: 9781862878471
Field of Research (FOR): 140214 Public Economics- Publically Provided Goods
HERDC Category Description: A1 Authored Book - Scholarly
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Extent of Pages: 276
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Views: 359
Downloads: 2
Appears in Collections:Book
UNE Business School

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