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Inter-governmental relations in the southern tablelands of New South Wales : a case-study in regionalism and decentralization

Wu, Mao-tsai

Description

The aim of this thesis was to approach the study of inter-governmental relations in a way not previously tried by political scientists in Australia. It has generally been assumed that an outstanding feature of Australian government, as of social and economic affairs in the country, is its centralization and concentration. It was recognised that this picture was complicated, especially in government, by the federal division of functions between six States and the Commonwealth. But even here...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorWu, Mao-tsai
dc.date.accessioned2015-09-21T02:32:23Z
dc.date.available2015-09-21T02:32:23Z
dc.identifier.otherb1015059
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/15596
dc.descriptionxii, 287, xviii l. : bibl., fold. maps
dc.description.abstractThe aim of this thesis was to approach the study of inter-governmental relations in a way not previously tried by political scientists in Australia. It has generally been assumed that an outstanding feature of Australian government, as of social and economic affairs in the country, is its centralization and concentration. It was recognised that this picture was complicated, especially in government, by the federal division of functions between six States and the Commonwealth. But even here the emphasis has been on the division of functions into separate groups, with concentration and uniformity characterizing the administration of each group by the appropriate government. And even in relation to Federalism, the emphasis has been on the tendency to centralization through the concentration of financial power and resources in the Federal Government. Further, and as a result of this, political studies have been almost exclusively concerned with the politics and central departmental administration of Commonwealth and State Governments, while local government, and departmental administration at the local level, have been comparatively neglected. An opportunity for making a different approach seemed to be offered by the interest that developed in regionalism, at all levels of Federal, State and local government, as part of the reconstruction planning at the end of the Second World War. This was closely followed by declarations, on the part of various governments, of a policy of encouraging decentralization in industry and population as well as in government administration. One sign of the new concern was the establishment of Regional Development Committees based on local representation, whose functions included the surveying of the resources of regional areas and the making of recommendations for the economic and social development of the Regions. Two such Regions are within easy reach of Canberra, and it was thought worth while to base a study of inter-governmental relations, and of the feasibility of the decentralization ideal in this country, on an examination of the way in which all levels of government operated within these selected Regions. It was hoped that this 'grass-roots' approach might throw some light on certain other related questions. For example, is there a real difference between the responsiveness and sensitivity of local administration by locally elected authorities and local administration by branches of State or Federal Government departments or statutory agencies? How far, and by what means, do Australian institutions enable local citizens to get governmental attention paid to the peculiar needs of their own areas, and how far and in what ways are legislative policies modified, in application, to meet such special needs? Finally, it was thought that a study of administration at the 'grass-roots' might provide some opportunity to examine, from a new angle, the question, usually discussed in rather broad generalities, of the supposed 'overlapping' and 'duplication' of some functions of government, as between the Commonwealth and the States. It seemed that from this angle, the extent of shared functions might be seen to be greater than is often realized, while the problems raised by this might, on the other hand, be seen to be not so serious as is sometimes imagined. It was not found possible, in this first attempt, to deal with all these problems in a satisfactory manner, and only tentative answers can be suggested to some of the questions. The following Chapters are introduced by a brief examination of the idea of regionalism as it has developed abroad, with the object of showing what particular form the notion assumed in its brief period of popularity in post-war Australia. Then the two Development Regions selected for study are described, together with the history of the formation, activities and recommendations of their respective Regional Development Committees, The introductory part is completed by an account of the whole range of governmental authorities, representing Federal, State and local levels, which were operating in the two Regions at the date of completion of the research, namely, Department of the Interior, Department of Shipping and Transport, Department of Works, Department of Civil Aviation, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Authority, South Coast and Tablelands Regional Office of the Department of Agriculture, South Coast and Southern Divisional Offices of the Department of Main Roads, Southern Area Office of the Department of Education, Wollongong District Office of the Housing Commission, Department of Local Government, Council of the City of Goulburn, Council of the Mulwaree Shire and the Southern Tablelands County Council. Part II consists of simple studies of five selected functions of government which have important applications at the local and regional level and which closely affect the daily lives of local citizens. These Chapters contain material of two kinds. In the first place they assemble statements, mostly based on official year books and reports, of the part played by the three levels of government throughout Australia in carrying out each of the selected functions. This is intended partly to present the policy context of the more detailed regional administration. However, it also gives some material which has no special regional application, because it was thought that assembling such material by functions would help to illustrate the broader question of the way in which functions are in fact shared out, rather than 'divided', between the different levels of government. In the second place these Chapters describe the detailed allocation of administrative duties at the regional and local level in the Regions studied, make some attempt to show how far local citizens can influence policy and its application, and record what effect, if any, the work of the Regional Development Committees has actually had on the policies followed in the Regions. This material is based on a study of official documents, local newspapers, theses and articles etc., and on field work including interviews with members of Parliament and Ministers, officials of local authorities, State and Commonwealth Departments and statutory corporations, local Mayors and councillors, and private citizens.
dc.language.isoen
dc.subjectinter-governmental relations
dc.subjectpolitical science in Australia
dc.subjectdecentralization
dc.subjectRegional Development Committees
dc.subjectSouthern Tablelands of New South Wales
dc.subjectregionalism
dc.subject.otherFederal government
dc.subject.otherLocal government
dc.subject.otherDecentralization in government
dc.subject.otherRegionalism
dc.titleInter-governmental relations in the southern tablelands of New South Wales : a case-study in regionalism and decentralization
dc.typeThesis (Masters)
local.description.notesThis Thesis has been made available through exception 200AB of the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeOther
dc.date.issued1961
local.contributor.affiliationThe Australian National University
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d70ec8061b23
dc.date.updated2015-09-14T06:25:33Z
local.mintdoimint
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