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A Critical Evaluation of Structural Reform Considerations in ‘Rates and Taxes: A Fair Share for Responsible Local Government'

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In its landmark report entitled Rates and Taxes: A Fair Share for Responsible Local Government, the Commonwealth House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration (2003) considered the plight of Australian local government given its very wide terms of reference involving local government's roles and responsibilities, current funding arrangements, municipal capacity, council expenditure, scope for rationalisation, and the findings of the Commonwealth Grants Commission Review (2001) of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. The authors of the ‘Hawker Report' brought down 18 recommendations, two of which dealt directly with the thorny question of structural reform. This paper seeks to provide a critical assessment of those aspects of the Report that concern structural reform in Australian local government.

Keywords: Amalgamation; economic efficiency; local democracy; structural reform

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of New England, Australia

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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