Separation anxiety: an empirical evaluation of the Australian Sunshine Coast Regional Council de-amalgamation

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Journal Article
Public Money and Management, 2014, 34 (3), pp. 213 - 220
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As part of the broader Queensland local government amalgamation programme, in 2008 Noosa Shire Council, Caloundra City Council and Maroochy Shire Council were compulsorily merged into a new Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Five years on, unyielding public opposition and a new Queensland Government has secured deamalgamation of Noosa Shire from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Given the almost complete absence of empirical literature on municipal de-amalgamation, the Noosa case provides a rare opportunity to empirically assess a de-amalgamation process. Accordingly, this paper provides a critical evaluation of the de-amalgamation analysis prepared by the Queensland Treasury Corporation. Far from placating residents, the de-amalgamation plans are likely to provoke further acrimony due not only to equity problems, but also a lack of democratic representation on key decisionmaking bodies. On a broader level, this case study serves as a template for the theory and practice associated with any municipal de-amalgamation-either in Australia or abroad. © 2014 © 2014 CIPFA.
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