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Is bigger Better? Local Government Amalgamation and the South Australian Rising to the Challenge Inquiry


Author Info

  • Dollery, Brian

    (School of Economics, University of New England, Armidale Australia)

  • Byrnes, Joel

    (School of Economics, University of New England, Armidale Australia)

  • Crase, Lin

    (School of Business, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia)


Although municipal amalgamation has enjoyed prominence as the primary engine of structural reform in Australian local government for at least the past century, mounting evidence concerning its adverse consequences has led to a growing scepticism over its efficacy as a suitable method of enhancing the operational efficiency of local councils. The results of an exhaustive enquiry into the financial sustainability of South Australian by the Financial Sustainability Review Board (2005) provides further damning evidence on the inability of amalgamation to improve the financial standing of fiscally distressed local authorities in that state. This paper examines those aspects of the deliberations of the Review Board that shed empirical light on the impact of amalgamation on the financial viability of South Australian local government and considers its wider implications for amalgamation as an efficacious instrument of municipal reform in Australia.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance in its journal Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP).

Volume (Year): 37 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-14

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Handle: RePEc:eap:articl:v:37:y:2007:i:1:p:1-14

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  1. David Murray & Brian Dollery, 2005. "Local Government Performance Monitoring In New South Wales: Are ‘At Risk’ Councils Really At Risk?," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 24(4), pages 332-345, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Reingewertz, Yaniv, 2012. "Do municipal amalgamations work? Evidence from municipalities in Israel," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 240-251.
  2. Hirota, Haruaki & Yunoue, Hideo, 2011. "Municipal mergers and special provisions of local council members in Japan," MPRA Paper 37485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Libman, A., 2011. "Integration of the Regions: Economic and Economic-Political Effects," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, issue 10, pages 155-158.


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