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Metropolitan governance is the missing link in Australia’s reform agenda

Richard Tomlinson writes in The Conversation (4.4.16) about the notion that ‘metropolitan governance’, or city-based and -focused administration, is an element missing from much of the current discussion over the form of Australia’s federalist structure.

‘Perhaps all Western countries with which Australia might choose to compare itself have, since the early 1990s, engaged in intergovernmental decentralisation. They have done so as part of a metropolitan “renaissance” that includes “experiments” with metropolitan government.

‘In contrast, Australia’s state governments are responsible for metropolitan governance. The state responsibility exists in a context of increasing intergovernmental centralisation that favours the federal government, as well as finance and treasury in federal and state governments.

‘New forms of metropolitan governance and a claimed worldwide decentralisation of roles and responsibilities have been a response to neoliberalism and the competitive forces arising from globalisation. How might Australia’s “unique model of metropolitan governance” be explained? Does it enhance economic competitiveness and the building of fair cities?’

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