'State Powers, State Land and Competition for Global Entertainment: The Case of Sydney

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 1999, 23 (1), pp. 165 - 172
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This paper describes three case studies to demonstrate the contemporary role of the state in attracting global activities to Sydney. The ideology and strategy of state governments rather than federal or local governments are critical in such processes in the Australian context, where urban planning and development control are constitutionally the responsibility of the states. The state governments have always had the powers to veto any planning and development decisions made at local government level. This reduces popular accountability: while the norm under the states planning legislation is for local accountability in rezoning and major development decisions, the legislation also contains provisions for the state government to override local planning and development decisions. The state has been hungry for the intervention of entrepreneurial capital in the wake of the 1980s office boom to provide urban development with direction. Strategically located surplus government sites have been a crucial ingredient for the New South Wales (NSW) state government in its attempts to attract global activities to Sydney. Australias long history of state provision of infrastructure and of state production in some manufacturing sectors has been central to the generation of large areas of surplus public land in Sydney and elsewhere.
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