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- DescriptionAustralian local government finds itself operating under conditions of acute financial austerity, manifested most plainly in a burgeoning infrastructure backlog. Various policy measures have been adopted to relieve this financial distress, most tably recent structural reform programs centred on forced council amalgamation. However, compulsory consolidation has t only failed to achieve its intended aims, but it has also served to diminish 'local voice' and 'local choice' and left a lasting legacy of bitterness and division. By contrast, as an alternative method of reaping the benefits of scale, scope, specialisation and size in local government service provision, but without all the deleterious effects of forced council mergers, service shared services offer significant promise for local government. Councils in Cooperation is the first attempt to comprehensively explore and assess the potential of resource sharing, shared services and other forms of inter-council cooperation in the Australian local government sector. Drawing on the full weight of international and Australian literature, Councils in Cooperation evaluates the theoretical literature on shared services and advances a new conceptual framework for explaining the comparative performance of shared service programs in practice. The authors consider alternative models of shared service provision and investigate the relative merits of these models. The book then systematically assesses the global empirical evidence on shared services and explores successful - and failed - attempts at shared services in the Australian milieu, providing various case studies of Regional Organisations of Councils, Strategic Alliances as well as vertical and horizontal shared service arrangements in contexts as varied as Greater Western Sydney, the NSW Central Tablelands and Riverina, and Outback Queensland. The policy implications arising from this wealth of material are examined in depth in Councils in Cooperation. The authors present a cogent case for policy makers to encourage local authorities to pursue shared service arrangements in selected areas of policy provision so as to reap the benefits which can flow from larger scale and greater specialisation, rather than rely on the heavy-handed and blunt instrument of forced amalgamation. Moreover, heightened cooperation between councils may well foster a 'bottom-up' revival of regional development with much better prospects for success than the current pattern of 'top-down' regionalism simply imposed on regional communities by national and state governments.
- Author BiographyBrian Dollery Brian Dollery is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Local Government at the University of New England. He has previously held academic positions at the University of South Africa, Rhodes University, and the University of Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa, East Carolina State University and Creighton University in the United States, and Yokohama National University in Japan. Brian has published extensively on the theoretical aspects of local government economics, finance and structure, as well as Australian local government. Co-authored and co-edited books include Australian Local Government: Reform and Renewal (with Neil Marshall, 1997); The Political Economy of Local Government (with Joe Wallis, 2001); Reshaping Australian Local Government: Finance, Governance and Reform (with Neil Marshall and Andrew Worthington, 2003); Australian Local Government Economics (with Lin Crase and Andrew Johnson, 2005) and Reform and Leadership in the Public Sector: A Political Economy Approach (with Joe Wallis and Linda McLoughlin, 2007). Both Australian Local Government: Reform and Renewal and Reshaping Australian Local Government: Finance, Governance and Reform have been translated into Mandarin Bligh Grant Bligh Grant is Research Lecturer in Local Government Studies and Deputy Director of the UNE Centre for Local Government. He holds a BA (Hons) in Politics from the University of New England and recently submitted his doctoral dissertation in Local Government Studies. Mr Grant is a former Associate Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba and has held several research-only appointments at UNE over several years in a variety of fields. He has published broadly in Australian politics and political economy, including the edited collection Pauline Hanson, One Nation and Australian Politics, (1997) and in local government studies in particular. Michael Kortt Michael Kortt is Senior Lecturer in Applied Economics at Southern Cross University (SCU). He holds a PhD in economics from the University of New England, an MS from the University of Arizona, and an honours degree in economics from La Trobe University. Prior to joining SCU, Michael spent 10 years working in the government sector as a research manager for the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Department of Health and Ageing. His principal research interest is in the field of local government economics.
- Author(s)Bligh James Grant,Brian Dollery,Michael Kortt
- PublisherFederation Press
- Date of Publication04/06/2012
- SubjectGovernment & Constitution
- Place of PublicationAnnandale, NSW
- Country of PublicationAustralia
- ImprintFederation Press
- Content Noteillustrations
- Weight332 g
- Width156 mm
- Height234 mm
- Spine18 mm
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