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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Mining in Africa : Are Local Communities Better Off?

his study focuses on the local and regional impact of large-scale gold mining in Africa in the context of a mineral boom in the region since 2000. It contributes to filling a gap in the literature on the welfare effects of mineral resources, which, until now, has concentrated more on the national or macroeconomic impacts. Economists have long been intrigued by the paradox that a rich endowment of natural resources may retard economic performance, particularly in the case of mineral-exporting developing countries. Studies of this phenomenon, known as the “resource curse,” examine the economy-wide consequences of mineral exports. Africa’s resource boom has lifted growth, but has been less successful in improving people’s welfare. Yet much of the focus in academic and policy circles has been on appropriate management of the macro-fiscal and governance risks that have historically undermined development outcomes. This study focuses instead on the fortune of local communities where resources are located. It aims to better inform public policy and corporate behavior on the welfare of communities in Africa in which the extraction of resources takes place.

Author: Punam Chuhan-Pole, Andrew L Dabalen, Bryan Christopher Land Publisher: World Bank Publication year: 2017


New Century Local Government: Commonwealth Perspectives

Democratic decentralisation through ‘conventional’ institutions of local government is facing increasing challenges, whether from financial pressures, questions of representativeness, difficult central-local relations and from a perhaps growing belief that local government has failed to realise its potential and there may be better ways of achieving societal goals. It is clear there is need to contemplate quite radical change to ensure local government becomes or remains ‘fit for purpose’. This collection of papers illustrates the way in which the role of local government is evolving in different parts of the Commonwealth and provides practical examples of new local government at work. It showcases emerging practice, and highlights success stories from new ways of working and challenges confronting local government in both developed and developing countries. New Century Local Government makes a very valuable contribution to helping understand the changing role of local government, and will ensure that practitioners are up-to-date with the most innovative initiatives in local government planning and administration.

Author: Graham Sansom and Peter McKinley Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat Publication year: 2016


Australian Infrastructure Financial Management Guidelines

The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) has recently published the Australian Infrastructure Financial Management Guidelines. The Guidelines provide new assistance to link the technical (engineering) and financial aspects of managing infrastructure and services, and to assist infrastructure owners such as local government to develop sustainable long-term asset and financial management plans. Financial management for long-life infrastructure assets (such as roads, water, sewerage, and stormwater networks, and community buildings) is about ensuring sustainability in the provision of services required by the community. These new Guidelines offer advice for every organisation and individual with responsibility for the management of infrastructure assets. 

Author: Chris Champion Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009


REVIEW NOTE: Local Government Reform and Local Government Finance

The multi-faceted problem of local government finance has attracted increasing attention in the new millennium. The reasons for the renewed interest in this thorny question are comparatively straightforward. In the first place, for the past two decades all public sector institutions have been profoundly affected by the twin revolutions simultaneously sweeping the world – the globalization of the international economy and the information revolution wrought by the computer age – and local government is no exception. Not only have these inexorable forces had dramatic implications for the structure of government as a whole, and relationships between the different tiers of government, but also for service provision and public finance, including local public finance. Secondly, substantially heightened demands on local government, together with limited access to adequate funding, have seen the genesis of a deepening crisis in the financial sustainability of local government entities.

Author: Brian Dollery Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009


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