Local and regional tensions: Shared services

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Journal Article
Public Policy, 2012, 7 (1), pp. 47 - 62
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The idea of recasting the Australian political landscape to incorporate an increased recognition of regions is both longstanding and intriguing. For example, in his introduction to New Australian States, U. R. Ellis (1933: 9) observed that while 'no complete history of the fight for local self-government in Australia has ever been written the Riverina and New England movements date back more than seventy years and the desire for domestic independence in Central and North Queensland has existed for almost as long'. Couched in these terms, arguments for increasing the number of states, based upon regional self-identification, were embedded in federalism as political theory. This theory recognised both the validity of the concept of local autonomy, or what Ellis (1933: 9) then referred to as 'home rule' (see, for example, Grant and Dollery, 2012), as well as the dangers of an 'unbalanced federalism', whereby regional and rural areas within states became subservient to the electorally-dominant industrialised cities.
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