The Australian Experience of Municipal Amalgamation: Asking the Citizenry and Exploring the Implications

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian Journal of Public Administration, 2016, 75 (3), pp. 373 - 390
Issue Date:
2016
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Debate over municipal amalgamations in Australian continues to dominate local government reform agendas, with the putative need to achieve economies of scale and scope consistently set against anti-amalgamation arguments designed to preserve extant communities. Following from an examination of recent episodes of consolidation in Australia, this paper reports on citizens' attitudes to amalgamation garnered from a national survey of 2,006 individuals. We found that generally, citizens are ambivalent toward amalgamation, although attitudes were influenced by particular demographic characteristics and attitudes to representation, belonging, service delivery requirements and the costs thereof. The results suggest that, away from the local government sector itself, structural reform may not be the vexatious issue it is often portrayed as. The implications of this are explored here.
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