Local councils as 'place-shapers': The implications of the lyons report for Australian local government

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Political Science, 2008, 43 (3), pp. 481 - 494
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The recent past has seen an intense focus on 'financial sustainability' in Australian local government to the exclusion of other important dimensions of local governance. This restrictive emphasis on finance has been unfortunate as it has ignored important developments in the international literature, which is best exemplified in the landmark 2007 Lyons Report in the United Kingdom. In this official inquiry, Sir Michael Lyons reiterates the critical significance of local voice and local choice in contemporary local government and develops the concept of 'place-shaping' as epitomising the modern role of local councils. However, British local government enjoys far broader service provision responsibilities than its Australian counterpart. Accordingly, this paper thus seeks to outline the nature of 'place-shaping', as conceived in the Lyons Report, and consider its applicability in the much narrower Australian local government milieu.
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