Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Local government finance

Resourcing local government remains a central challenge to effective decentralisation. This section has content relating to different models of fiscal decentralisation, options for identifying new sources of local revenue, such as local property tax; and strategies for improving collection and deployment of own-source revenue. It also offers information about improving the borrowing potential of local government, innovative financing models such as municipal bonds, shared services, and public private partnerships.

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Political actor or policy instrument? Governance challenges in Australian local government

This article examines the governance challenges facing Australian local government, which include lack of constitutional standing, intergovernmental dependencies, financial constraints and weak democratic standing. The historical context has shaped the nature and place of local government in the Australian federal polity and has contributed to the tensions created by an expansion of the roles and responsibilities of local government, especially in the provision of services, which is not matched by concomitant increases in financial capacity and local autonomy. These governance challenges are discussed with a view to establishing local government’s capacity for autonomous self-governance in the face of intergovernmental and fiscal dependencies, and the implications of this for local government reform trajectories.

Author: Nicola Brackertz Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2013


Leading communities: community-led development in England’s small towns: the market towns initiative

The Market Towns Initiative (MTI), a UK community-led development programme, operated throughout rural England from 2000 until 2005/6. It was designed to help local people, with professional support, identify – and then capitalize on – the economic, environmental and social strengths and weaknesses of small country towns. This paper explains the origins and ways of working of the MTI. Examples of the topics explored and participants’ views are given, and conclusions drawn. The opportunity is also taken to explain how interest in the roles of England’s small country towns grew in the years following the Second World War, and how this led to the development of the MTI. Evidence suggests that the programme worked well. It demonstrated that local people have the enthusiasm, skills and knowledge to take a lead in the development of the places in which they live; something which, until local government reforms changed roles and structures, was largely taken for granted.

Author: Gordon Morris Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2012


Rates versus developer contributions as revenue sources for local government

Population expansion in many New South Wales (NSW) local government areas (LGA) has resulted in an increase in demand for local infrastructure and services that has far outstripped sources of local government revenue. This paper looks at two important sources of local government revenue in NSW, municipal rates and Section 94 contributions, as a source of funding increased demand and maintenance of infrastructure. It examines some recent and potentially long-term trends of both these revenues within different economic climates. An analysis and comparison of data over the period from June 2006 through to June 2010 against data collected for the period ending June 1993 forms the basis of this research. The research objective is to compare changes in the relativity of these revenue types and assess their application as a source of local government revenue. Data collected from the Department of Local Government NSW is compared with the findings of an earlier study, conducted by Barnes and Dollery (1996), in determining their relativity. The provision and maintenance of infrastructure by local government is essential for growth in the economy and is a valuable asset to be used by the community. Two types of funding for this infrastructure, among others, is sourced from municipal rates and developer charges levied under Section 94 contributions either by the developer providing the infrastructure, or a contribution towards its funding (Barnes and Dollery 1996).

Author: Kate Koutifaris, Vince Mangioni Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2012


New CLGF four-year grant to help local government service delivery and boost CLGF’s research capacity

The UK Department for International Development (UK AID) has agreed £4.5 million funding for a four-year CLGF programme to improve governance and service delivery at local level in several areas of the Commonwealth including Africa and Asia from 2012-16. It will also help to support national policy frameworks for local government service delivery, and increase engagement of local government in regional policy planning and implementation. CLGF will continue to work with its members, UN partners and others to mobilise more resources towards the support of local government in the Commonwealth. The new programme will focus on local government pilot projects in LED, supporting ministries and local government associations in strengthening their national policy making for local government, and establish regional forums to enable local government to engage in and influence regional policy making to reflect the needs and priorities of local government. It will also boost CLGF’s research capacity with targeted research to strengthen CLGF’s policy making and advocacy, including more sustained engagement in international policy debates on key issues affecting local government, such as climate change.

Author: Lucy Slack, Susan Rhodes Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2012


Rural municipal development and reform in Canada: policy learning through local - provincial collaboration

In a federated country like Canada, diversity challenges universal policy prescriptions for local governments. The success of its provincial governments, which have exclusive jurisdiction for systems of local government, depends on balancing the need to act comprehensively and systematically while dealing thoughtfully with the unique situation of individual local governments. Canada’s provinces are shifting their approach to strengthening rural governance – shifting away from more directive interventions and now seeking to facilitate capacity-building in a manner that is less state-centred, more bottom-up, and better adapted to variable local circumstances. A dialogue was organised to focus on this shift in provincial practice. It brought together more than 50 savvy and influential policy practitioners representing all provinces and most local government associations at the provincial level. Practice recommendations emerged for provinces, local government associations, and local governments focusing on concrete actions and tools but also on the potential for redefining the roles played by, and relations between, the associations and provincial governments.

Author: John Martin, Gary Paget, Brian Walisser Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2012


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