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Abstract

The challenges confronting Australian local government are typically problematised in terms of either economic sustainability and efficiency, or the ‘democratic deficit’ resultant from amalgamations. Comparatively little attention has been paid to a justification of local government aimed at reinforcing its legitimacy against reform processes initiated by other tiers of government. In an attempt to rectify this deficit, this paper explores the applicability of Mark Moore’s (1995) theory of Public Value to Australian local government. We argue that despite Rhodes and Wanna’s (2007) objections to the applicability of Moore’s theory to Westminster political systems, Public Value provides both an accurate sociological heuristic and a normative theory of politics and public sector management for Australian local government.

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