Articles on Local government

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While Melbourne City Council is responsible for the CBD, governance of the vast area of metropolitan Melbourne is poorly co-ordinated between 31 councils in all. Alex Proimos/Flickr

Towards a collaborative city: the case for a Melbourne Metropolitan Commission

Governance of metropolitan Melbourne is fragmented among 31 city councils. All levels of government need to work towards creating a metropolitan authority to meet the challenges of a growing city.
Malcolm Turnbull outlines his vision of ‘City Deals’ that enable ‘smart cities’ to drive growth in the new economy. AAP/Lukas Coch

Will Budget 2016 deliver a new deal for Australian cities?

The Turnbull government sees the 'City Deal' as a way for 'smart cities' to drive innovation and growth. But what is the value proposition behind this UK concept and how might it work in Australia?
Unless councillors are helped to focus on their representative roles, local democracy’s effectiveness could be in danger. AAP/Darren Pateman

How council mergers and reforms imperil local government democracy

If local councils are bigger and councillors represent more residents, it is important that they focus on understanding their communities’ needs and aspirations, rather than on day-to-day operations.
Those opposed to forced municipal mergers have reason to be sceptical of NSW Premier Mike Baird’s promises that it will improve councils’ performance. AAP/Paul Miller

Do mergers make for better councils? The evidence is against ‘bigger is better’ for local government

If forced amalgamations proceed, we may well see hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer and ratepayer funds squandered simply because policymakers preferred dogma to empirical evidence.
An upbeat Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s finance minister (left) arrives to deliver his 2016 budget address to parliament in Cape Town. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa budget 2016: nifty political footwork may not be enough

Cutting the bloated public service wage bill, as the finance minister is doing, is critically important economically. But it is sure to be unpopular with the governing ANC's powerful labour allies.
Almost four years since the process of restructuring local government began, the Baird government faces many challenges in finalising its plans. AAP/Lukas Coch

NSW councils shake-up: is the endgame near?

Wherever governments have merged local councils, they have faced a political backlash. New South Wales is no exception and, nearly four years into the process, many challenges lie ahead.
Cuts to councils continue where they left off from the last parliament. OccupyMCR/flickr

How cuts to local councils will affect you

Britain's shrinking state means local services are increasingly being put into private hands.

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