This is the first comprehensive book examining local government in the Australian federation for several decades. It is written from the perspective of political studies, incorporating elements of economics and public administration. In 12 chapters, it covers four broad topics. First, it provides a history of local government in Australia in the individual colonies and states, and traces federal government engagement with local government, from the drafting of the Constitution of Australia through to the 21st century as an element of regional policy. Second, it outlines theories of local government grounded in philosophy, economics and political theory and examines the relevance of these to Australia. Third, a range of policy issues – state-local relations (sovereignty; autonomy), community and community engagement, finance, leadership, governance, amalgamations and the global city thesis – are examined in comparative perspective. Fourth, against the background of contemporary debates concerning the future of Australian federalism, it canvasses the future of local government in Australia.


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