A survey of community engagement in Australian local government
Grant, B, Dollery, B, Kortt, MA & Blackwell, B 2012, 'A survey of community engagement in Australian local government', Journal of African & Asian Local Government Studies, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 1-29.
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In the quest for both enhanced local democracy (Aulich 2009) and increased economic prosperity founded in 'place-based' policy-making (Lyons 2007), community engagement has become an established technique of Australian local government planning and decision-making. While several commentators have considered the normative validity of community engagement strategies (see, for example, Grant and Dollery 2011) and others have conducted detailed studies of particular jurisdictional contexts (Prior and Herriman 2010; Wiseman 2006), to date a comparative study of the different Australian local government systems has not been forthcoming. As an initial step toward undertaking this comprehensive empirical task, this paper examines the legislative and regulatory frameworks for community engagement in Australian local government jurisdictions. It is argued that the characteristics of Australia's federal system are played out in this policy arena, such that differences between the state and territory frameworks enable the promise of place-based policy making to be felt at the local community level.