Volume 22 Issue 1 published May 2016
NOTES FROM THE EDITORS
MICHAEL HEFFERAN, BRUCE WILSON, PAUL COLLITS AND WAYNE GRAHAM
Page Number - 1
LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SPECIAL EDITION OF AJRS AND STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR RESEARCH
In December 2015 the Australia and New Zealand Regional Science Association International (ANZRAI) held its 39th Annual Conference at the University of Technology Sydney. Prior to the conference the Editorial Board of Australasian Journal of Regional Studies (AJRS) and the Executive of ANZRAI agreed to a Special Edition (SE) of the journal entitled ‘Local Governance and Regional Development’ to be developed and published as part of the outcomes of the conference. In this ‘Introduction’ the members of the ad hoc Editorial Board formed for the SE provide an account of the conference and a concise overview of the papers therein as they relate to the theme of ‘Local Governance and Regional Development’. We also reflect upon the strategic directions for research in regional studies.
BLIGH GRANT, ROBERTA RYAN AND JOHN MARTIN
Page Number - 2
SOVEREIGN STATES, SEPARATE SPHERES AND VISIONS OF REGIONAL AUSTRALIA
Since 1901 the structure of formal politics in Australia has been determined by the nature of Australian federalism as a framework for resource allocation and authoritative decision-making. As opposed to the more usual two-tiered structure of politics where there is national and local/regional government layering, Australian federalism has three tiers due to the retention of the former colonies as sovereign states comprising an intermediate tier, and this has reduced the role and significance of the local/regional tier. In the first half of this essay I explore the history of campaigns to abolish the sovereign states in order to demonstrate the importance of the idea of enhanced local/regional politics within such modes of thinking. With this in mind, the remaining discussion is focused on the current federalism White Paper process. The underlying federal premise of state sovereignty is examined in order to better understand the purpose of the White Paper, and to explore the implications which it may have for the local/regional tier of government. Despite years of ‘co-operative’ federalism and blurred lines of responsibility, the system remains centralised and remote from local/regional concerns and the proposed sharpening of separate responsibilities will do nothing to change this.
Page Number - 9
DEMARCATING FUNCTIONAL ECONOMIC REGIONS ACROSS AUSTRALIA DIFFERENTIATED BY WORK PARTICIPATION CATEGORIES
Analysing spatial variations in regional economic performance is a common focus for research by regional scientists. Typically such investigations suffer from using de jure regions (such as Local Government Areas) as the spatial base because data tend to be readily available for such administrative areas to derive the variables that researchers use in econometric modelling. But using those de jure regions means we encounter the modifiable area unit problem (MAUP) which necessitates making adjustments to address spatial autocorrelation issues. It is preferable to use functional regions as the spatial base for such investigations, but that is often difficult to achieve. This paper outlines how, in Australia, we have undertaken research to derive functional economic regions (FERs) to provide an improved spatial data base that is functional and not de jure-based to address the autocorrelation issue. To do that we employ the Intramax procedure applied to journey-to-work (JTW) commuting flows data that is available from the 2011 census. The research has generated not only a national framework of FERs based on aggregate employment but also a series of regionalisations of FERs differentiated by occupational categories, employment by gender and mode of travel to work. As expected the strength and reach of commuting is reflected in the size of regions for each of the demarcations.
ROBERT STIMSON, WILLIAM MITCHELL, MICHAEL FLANAGAN, SCOTT BAUM AND TUNG-KAI SHYY
Page Number - 27
DE-SILOING AND DEFINING RECURRENT LAND TAX REVENUE IN AUSTRALIA
Australia has capacity to increase effort from recurrent land taxation while reducing less efficient transaction taxes on property. The objective of increasing land tax revenue is thwarted by a number of factors of which this paper examines the impost of recurrent land tax by state and local government as they compete for the same tax base. This paper examines land tax revenue collected by state and local government between 2001 and 2012 inclusive, with trends measured at the beginning, middle and end of this period. The paper finds that revenue is progressively increasing from state land tax as a total share of recurrent land tax revenues. However, Australia still lags the advanced OECD economies in total revenue collected from this source as a percentage of GDP and as a percentage of total tax. It concludes that while Australia remains one of the few countries to impose a dual land tax across two tiers of government, it is not likely for land tax to make the necessary contribution in reforming Australia’s tax system under the current two tier structure. It further shows that local government is, more likely, the acceptable tier of government to collect and administer this tax into the future.
Page Number - 58
AUTOPSY OF MUNICIPAL FAILURE: THE CASE OF CENTRAL DARLING SHIRE
Local government plays a vital role in providing infrastructure, services and employment to rural and regional communities. Indeed, threats to the fiscal viability of regional councils may well jeopardise the sustainability of an entire community. In December 2013 the New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Local Government suspended Central Darling Shire (in far-western NSW) and appointed an interim Administrator in response to an unprecedented liquidity crisis. In October 2014 a public inquiry recommended extension of the period of administration until September 2020. This paper considers the processes leading up to this extraordinarily lengthy period of financial administration. In particular, we examine the claim that an inequitable allocation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) was a major factor in bringing about the Shire’s liquidity crisis. We conclude our analysis with some recommendations for changes to FAG allocations which will help ensure sustainable futures for rural communities.
JOSEPH DREW AND NICOLE CAMPBELL
Page Number - 79
GOVERNANCE AND REGIONAL INCOMES IN AUSTRALIA
What effects does governance, industry or remoteness have on regional incomes? This paper uses linear regression and correlation analysis to investigate the relationship between income, local employment in governance of transactions, public administration, the remaining industry classes, and remoteness in 140 functional economic regions of Australia in 2006. Governance provides the advanced services required for trade and innovation. Unlike de jure regions, such as Local Government Areas, functional economic regions are defined to contain, to the maximum extent possible, both the homes and the workplaces of the labour force, thus minimizing spatial autocorrelation present in data from de jure regions. We use data from the 2006 Australian Census of Population and Housing and the Australian Standard Geographical Classification. The analysis shows that, of all these variables, only governance matters for regional incomes.
DENIS ANTHONY (TONY) O'MALLEY
Page Number - 103
A TEST OF THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES IN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: THE CASE OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION STUDENTS IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
There is some controversy in Australia over the role of regional universities in the economic development of their regions. This paper assumes that regional universities can be valuable additions to regional development. To avoid the Grattan ‘taxpayer-money-recycled’ critiques, this paper examines students who provide other people’s money, notably international education students in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia. The case is made that international education exports are a valuable part of the suite of the NT’s exports. It is posited that over the next decade the Territory’s international education exports can triple and the sector become the Territory’s fifth largest exporter and the second largest services exporter.
Page Number - 125
COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF ‘SLOW BURN’
Regional Australia is confronted by specific demographic, social, economic and infrastructure challenges, which we are denoting as ‘slow-burn’ threats. This article interrogates a recent national survey concerned with the value of local government to Australian communities, focusing upon differences in responses for regional and remote areas compared to those from urban capital cities. Findings indicate that regional and remote residents place more importance on local government delivering services that specifically focus on the long-term development and sustainability of the community than their urban counterparts, particularly economic and community development roles. We argue that this constitutes a demonstration of the different expectations that regional and remote communities have of local government in the face of ‘slow burn’ in regional and remote areas. Further, we suggest that the relationship between local governments in regional Australia and the communities they serve is usefully conceived in terms of what we denote as ‘the close economy’ and ‘the local state’.
CATHERINE HASTINGS, LIANA WORTLEY, ROBERTA RYAN AND BLIGH GRANT
Page Number - 158
NEW REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT PARADIGMS: AN EXPOSITION OF PLACE-BASED MODALITIES
The policy field of regional development is perennially faced with new challenges and, as a result, it continues to evolve. More recently, according to some researchers there has been an important transformation or change in emphasis in the character of regional development. Some have characterised this qualitative transformation as a shift from an ‘old’ paradigm of regional development that sought to compensate lagging regions to a ‘new’ paradigm, commonly labelled ‘place-based development’, which attests that all places can grow when policymaking is attuned to spatial particularities. Nevertheless, recognition that all places exhibit potential to grow and develop does little to advance longstanding debates about how to go about realising inherent possibilities specific to particular places. This paper aims to provide an exposition of this new paradigm of regional development to help to (i) enhance our understanding of contemporary modes of regional development; (ii) develop a clearer understanding of its progressive potentials alongside some unresolved tensions; and (iii) identify practical matters when implementing place-based principles.
LEE PUGALIS AND NICK GRAY
Page Number - 181