Regional development and local government: Three generations of federal intervention
- Australian and New Zealand Regional Science Association
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Australian Journal of Regional Studies, 2009, 15 (2), pp. 171 - 193
- Issue Date:
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Contemporary Australian local government faces several daunting problems, not least escalating financial un-sustainability and local infrastructure depletion. The main response of the various state and territory governments has taken the form of a series structural reform programs, with a strong emphasis on forced amalgamation. However, widespread dissatisfaction with the consequences of these compulsory consolidation programs has led to a search for alternative policy solutions based largely on shared services and various types of regional co-operation between local councils. This paper seeks to place proposed `regional solutions to contemporary problems in historical perspective by providing a comparative account of three distinct federal government initiatives of `region-directed policy in the post-World Two era: the `nation-building of the 1940s; the `paternalism of the 1970s; and `self-sufficiency of the 1990s. We argue that, not withstanding the complex relationship between historical circumstances and changing state-federal relations, important lessons for current local government policy making can be learnt from a critical assessment of these episodes of federal intervention at the regional level.
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