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Abstract

A series of national and state public inquiries have established that the great majority of Australian local councils find themselves in straitened financial circumstances, with the problem of financial distress most acute in small regional, rural and remote local authorities. Given the spatial dimension of financial unsustainability, various solutions have been proposed, including shared service provision. While considerable ingenuity has been displayed by the local government sector across Australia in the implementation of a wide variety of different shared service models, the academic literature has unfortunately lagged far behind real-world developments. There is thus an urgent need for scholars of Australian local government to consider new shared service models in order to provide a critical assessment of these models as an aid to informed local government policy making. In an effort to meet this gap in the literature, this paper provides a detailed analysis of the common service provision model developed by the Brighton Council in southern Tasmania.

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