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Dr Bligh Grant

Biography

Bligh Grant is Senior Lecturer at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance (UTS:IPPG).

Bligh has been a research-intensive academic for several years who nevertheless enjoys teaching into a range of social science disciplines. Much of his work comprises bringing expertise in his core disciplines (politics, philopophy, political economy) to areas of public policy. He enjoys working with scholars, practitioners and HDR candidates to produce academic research outputs and broader outcomes.

A continuing focus of Bligh's work is local government. He is co-author of two recent books, Funding the Future (2013) and Councils in Cooperation (2012), both with Brian Dollery and Michael Kortt. Recent, co-authored academic articles have appeared in Australian Journal of Political ScienceInternational Journal of Public Administration, Australian Journal of Public Administration and Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations.

Bligh has held positions as Lecturer in Business Ethics at the UNE Business School, Lecturer at the UNE Centre of Local Government and Associate Lecturer in Political Economy  at the University of Southern Queensland. He has also taught in the areas of Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, Asian Studies and International Political Economy at UNE. He contributes regularly to media on issues relating to Australian politics, in particular local government.

Professional

Professional memberships:

  • Australasian Political Studies Association (APSA)
  • Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE)
  • Australia New Zealand Regional Science Association International (ANZRSAI)
  • Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES)
  • Institute of Public Administration Australia NSW (PPA NSW)
  • Urban Affairs Association (USA) (Institutional Member)

Editorial roles:

  • Editorial Board: Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics and Business Law.

A well as his formal editorial roles Bligh has reviewed papers for a wide range of journals including Publius: The Journal of Federalism; Local Government Studies, Administration and Society, Australian Journal of Political Science, Australian Journal of Public Administration, International Journal of Public Administration, Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations, Economic Papers and Australasian Journal of Regional Studies.

Image of Bligh Grant
Senior Lecturer, lnstitute for Public Policy and Governance
BA (UNE), BA (HONS-1 [Politics]) (UNE), PhD (UNE)
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 4901

Research Interests

Bligh has researched and published in a range of fields, including:

  • local government studies, in particular political theory of local government, comparative systems of local government, intergovernmental relations and public finance;
  • strategic management theory, in particular leadership in public sector organisations, the public value approach developed by Mark Moore (1995) and the ensuing debate;
  • regional economic development, in particular that pertaining to the wine industry; 
  • business education, in particular the application of new modes of learning to teaching business and business ethics.

Can supervise: Yes

Dr Grant is an accredited PhD supervisor at UTS. He has worked in research-intensive environments in several Australian universities working closely with graduate students to achieve their scholarly and professional goals.

Supervision areas include, but are not limited to:

Local government studies, in particular:

  • Political theory of local government;
  • Future of local government;
  • Political economy of local government;
  • Comparative local government.
  • Strategic management studies.
  • Public sector reform, in particular applied ethics in public management, and
  • Australian politics, in particular localism and regionalism and intergovernmental relations.

Reflecting his research strengths in local government studies and related areas, Bligh teaches into a range of subjects at the Centre for Local Government. These include:

  • 15604 Local Government Principles and Practice
  • 15621 Research in Local Government
  • 15619 Comparative Local Governance
  • 15610 Local Government Leadership
  • 15618 New Perspectives in Local Government Leadership
  • ACELG's Elected Member's Program

As well as teaching Business Ethics, Politics, Sociology, Asian Studies and International Relations at UNE, Bligh has also taught as Visiting Lecturer at Henan Agricultural University and Harbin Engineering University, People's Republic of China.

Books

Dollery, B., Kortt, M. & Grant, B.J. 2013, Funding the Future: Financial Sustainability and Infrastructure Finance in Australian Local Government, 1, Federation Press, Sydney.
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Dollery, B., Grant, B.J. & Kortt, M. 2012, Councils in Cooperation: Shared Services and Australian Local Government., 1, Federation Press, Sydney.
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Chapters

Grant, B.J., Ryan, R. & Lawrie, A. 2015, 'Dirty hands and commissions of inquiry: An examination of the Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP) in NSW, Australia' in Schwatz, M. & Harris, H. (eds), Conscience, Leadership and the Problem of 'Dirty Hands' (Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations), Emerald/Insight, UK, pp. 19-39.
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We utilise the problem of dirty hands to consider the ethical dimensions of commissions of inquiry, particularly commissions of inquiry conducted for the purposes of public policy. The Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP) in NSW is used as an example for the purposes of discussion. Four questions endemic to considerations of dirty hands are derived from Coady (2014). The framework affords various insights into the ethical terrain of this particular inquiry and those undertaken for the purposes of public policy more generally. We argue that commissions of this type and the ILGRP in particular cannot be labelled examples of dirty hands and that the concept of determinatio from the work of St Thomas Aquinas sheds light as to the nature of moral claims around commissions. We also argue that a fruitful analysis is afforded by Wallis' (2013) analytic framework of the 'logic of fateful choices faced by the leaders of commissions of inquiry'. Nevertheless, confusion surrounding the nature and types of inquiries is partially responsible for accusations of their ethical incoherence.
Dollery, B., Grant, B.J. & Kortt, M. 2013, 'Options for rationalising local government structure: A policy agenda' in Lago-Penas, S. & Martinez-Vazquez, J. (eds), The Challenge of Local Government Size: Theoretical Perspectives, International Perspectives and Pol, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 249-269.
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Fisher, J. & Grant, B.J. 2012, 'Strengthening business ethics teaching: The case for Moore's public value' in Schwartz, M. & Harris, H. (eds), Issues in Ethical Issues in Organisations, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, UK, pp. 85-96.
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Dollery, B., Grant, B.J. & Kortt, M. 2011, 'Tackling the Australian Local Infrastructure Backlog: The Case for a National Bond Bank' in van der Hoek, M.P. (ed), A Global Economy, Forum of Economists International, Papendrecht, Netherlands, pp. 116-130.
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Grant, B.J. & Sorensen, T. 2000, 'Marginality, Regionalism and the One Nation Vote: Exploring Socio-Economic Correlation' in Simms, M. & Warhurst, J. (eds), Howard's Agenda: The 1998 Federal Election, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland, pp. 193-211.

Conferences

Grant, B.J., Ryan, R. & Lawrie, A. 2015, 'Reforming 'Sydney global city': Mapping enduring sites of institutionalconflict', 14th Annual Society for Heterodox Economists (SHE) Conference, SHE; UNSW Business School, University of New South Wales.
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Local government in New South Wales (NSW) Australia presently faces the prospect radical consolidation alongside the implementation of metropolitan-wide governance structures. The pervasive modernity of these processes has been couched in the rhetoric of the need to achieve 'Global City' status such that Sydney can compete with other regionally-based centres. However, these narratives neglect the historically repetitive nature of these conflicts. Following from an account of the city's early attempts at metropolitan governance, this discussion examines 'Sydney Global City' as it is portrayed in the advocacy literature exemplified by the work of the increasingly influential lobby group, the Committee for Sydney. We then provide an account of contemporary processes of state-local relations toward consolidation and metropolitan governance. We argue that former iterations of attempted reforms are instructive, particularly in directing attention to the institutional sites of conflict away from the economic reductionism of the 'global cities' narrative.
Woods, R. & Grant, B.J. 2015, 'A critical note on local government 'failure' in Australian local government', 14th Annual Society of Heterodox Economists (SHE) Conference, Society for Heterodox Economics, UNSW Business School, pp. 92-103.
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Local governments in Australia are subject to a range of systemic problems, including corruption and impropriety, ongoing concerns with operational efficiency and financial sustainability and variable quality in management practices. In examining these issues, many of which have been brought into focus by regular inquiries and reform initiatives in all state and territory jurisdictions, some commentators have described these problems as examples of local government 'failure'. We argue that this claim is misplaced and rests on a conflation of the concept of 'government failure' with 'market failure'; an equivalence that ought to be avoided due to the morally superior status of government, particularly those that are democratically elected, when set against the mechanism of the market. Further, we argue that a more accurate and more useful conceptualisation of local government failure can be derived from examining the challenges and pitfalls of decentralised government.
Grant, B.J. & Woods, R. 2014, 'Good capital? Examples of successful municipal bond banking and implications for Australian public policy', Tackling persistent economic problems: Heterodox perspectives, 13th Australian Society of Heterodox Economists Conference, UNSW, Sydney.
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Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2013, 'SYMPOSIUM ON AMALGAMATION AND FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT: PART 1', Public Finance and Management, Southern Public Administration Education Foundation, Elizabethtown, PA, pp. 53-57.

Journal articles

Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Kortt, M. 2016, 'Recasting leadership in Australian local government reform: A typology from political theory', Local Government Studies, vol. inpress, pp. 1-21.
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Changes to elected leadership in Australian local government have seen greater authority assigned to mayors in several jurisdictions. A Discussion Paper recently released under the auspices of the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government (ACELG) has recommended further reforms, arguing inter alia that mayors ought to enjoy a personal mandate and a stronger strategic role. This paper places these suggested reforms into context by developing a typology of local government leadership from political theory. We argue that this quadrilateral typology provides a critical portrait of recommendations for stronger leadership which, in this instance, have been transposed from two unitary systems of government (England and New Zealand) to the Australian federal system, without due consideration of the literature examining stronger mayoral roles. It is argued that caution should be exercised when redrafting legislation governing mayoral authority, a process presently underway in New South Wales (NSW).
Grant, B.J., Ryan, R. & Kelly, A. 2016, 'The Australian Government's 'White Paper on Reform of the Federation' and the future of Australian local government', International Journal of Public Administration.
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The Abbott Government announced its 'White Paper on the Reform of the Australian Federation' on 28 June 2014. Set against this backdrop, discussions of the future of Australian local government may provoke a general assumption of what Brown (2008, p. 422), commenting upon the 1974 attempt at Constitutional recognition of local government, termed a 'set piece party battle'. However, reflection suggests that such a generalisation is misplaced, that the debate ought not to be that predictable and the position of the local government sector ought not to be that passive: If we consider the complexities of regionalism, the potential role of local government is thrown open to broader considerations. We argue that local government ought to adopt a 'maximalist' position (Allan 2006) particularly with respect to financial reform.
Valadkhani, A., Chen, G. & Grant, B.J. 2016, 'How useful is the yield spread as a predictor of growth in Australia?', Journal of Economic Studies.
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Purpose – This paper examines the usefulness of the yield spread in forecasting growth in the Australia economy since 1969. Design/Methodology/approach – This paper applies time series analysis to evaluate the in-sample and out-of-sample forecasting power of the spread-growth nexus in Australia for the period spanning from 1969 to 2014. Findings – This paper concludes that the spread serves as a useful predictor of growth in output, private dwellings, private fixed capital formation, and inventories in Australia, both in-sample and out-of-sample. Its predictive content is not sensitive to the inclusion of monetary-policy variables or the switch to the inflation-targeting regime by the Reserve Bank of Australia in the early 1990s. Original/value – This paper provides compelling evidence to policy makers and market participants on the usefulness of the spread in forecasting output growth for up to eight quarters ahead.
Smith-Ruig, T., Grant, B.J. & Sheridan, A. 2016, 'Slow change at the top: 'Old hands' and 'accidental executives in NSW local government', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 89-99.
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Scholars and practitioners alike have recognised that an increased role for women leaders in Australian local government would strengthen the sector, yet little research to date has examined the career paths of non-elected officials. This paper combines the gender in organisations literature with careers theory to examine the career paths of 16 General Managers (GMs) in NSW. We found that half the participants had linear career paths based entirely within local government and half had boundaryless careers originating outside the sector. This second cohort consisted overwhelmingly of women. Nevertheless, a high incidence of happenstance characterised both career types. Several participants saw themselves pitted against a gendered (i.e.: male) group of 'old hands' who were resistant to change being driven by 'accidental executives', a high proportion of whom were women. The findings have implications for a sector attempting to attract and retain skilled staff, particularly women.
Grant, B.J. 2016, 'The role of internal auditing in corporate governance: a Foucauldian analysis', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal.
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Abstract Purpose – This study attempts to articulate the conceptual foundations of the role of internal auditing in corporate governance by drawing on Michel Foucault's concept of governmentality. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a literature-based analysis of the role of internal auditing from a Foucauldian perspective. Findings – It is argued that Foucault's notion of governmentality provides conceptual tools for researching internal auditing as a disciplinary mechanism in the corporate governance setting of contemporary organizations. The paper develops an initial conceptual formulation of internal auditing as (a) ex post assurance about the execution of economic activities within management's preconceived frameworks and (b) ex ante advisory services to enhance the rationality of economic activities and accompanying controls. Originality/value – This paper extends the Foucauldian analysis of accounting to incorporate internal auditing. It offers original propositions as a research agenda and discusses ontological and epistemic considerations associated with adopting the Foucauldian framework for internal auditing research. Implications – The paper is expected to initiate debate on the choice of theory and method in internal auditing research. The propositions and research agenda discussed can be used to address research questions of an interpretive nature that could enrich our current understanding of internal auditing.
Grant, B.J. 2016, 'From Agriculture to Mining: The Changing Economic Base of a Rural Economy and Implications for Development', Economic Analysis and Policy, vol. In print.
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This paper uses economic-base theory and input-output modelling to examine the structure of a regional rural economy in New South Wales, Australia, drawing important policy implications for economic planners. The most salient trend has been a shift in the area's dependence from agriculture to mining over the recent decade. However, the level of diversity of the region's industrial composition has altered very little. Mining is also contributing to significant net leakage of employment income from the region. Mining should therefore not necessarily be considered as the key future opportunity for economic development. Instead, a number of industry sectors, particularly those that foster innovation and technology, can be harnessed to drive future regional growth. In addition, a tourism marketing strategy promoting the region's food, wine and other distinctive attributes should play an integral role in future development planning. These prescriptions are highly transferable to similar rural economies experiencing a shift to mining.
Drew, J., Grant, B.J. & Fisher, J. 2016, 'Re-evaluating local government amalgamations: Utility maximisation meets the Principle of Double Effect (PDE)', Policy and Politics: an international journal.
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Public policy debates are often dominated by economic analysis of aggregate financial benefit. However, public policy formulated on this basis is frequently regarded as profoundly unsatisfactory by stakeholders. Focussing upon municipal amalgamation, this paper provides an alternative framework for public policy analysis which emphasises the importance of intent, process and uncertainty in decision making. We contend that an approach of this type better accommodates public opinion on contentious policy reform. Moreover, it reminds policy makers that even the most admirable economic outcome must still be achieved through a morally licit process.
Drew, J., Grant, B.J. & Campbell, N. 2016, 'Progressive and Reactionary Rhetoric in the Municipal Reform Debate in New South Wales (NSW) Australia', Australian Journal of Political Science.
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Hirschman's (1991) rhetoric of reaction is a potentially powerful typology of the arguments made by both proponents and opponents of reform. However, scholars have identified a number of gaps in the typology, in particular that it has struggled to explain the lines of rhetoric associated with disputed empirical evidence. This paper reviews Hirschman's typology before applying it to the contentious municipal amalgamation debates currently unfolding in New South Wales, Australia. We then examine the lines of attack open to progressives and reactionaries on the basis of empirical data. We conclude that the use of empirical data opens new lines of rhetoric for both 'progressives' and 'reactionaries' generally, but that both information costs and complexity significantly affect the timing and penetration of the arguments.
Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Kortt, M. 2015, 'Is there a case for mandating directly elected `semi-executive' mayors in Australian local government? Lessons from the 2012 Queensland local government elections', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 484-494.
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A 'semi-executive' model for Australian mayors, inclusive of direct election, is presently being explored in the Australian local sector (see, in particular, Sansom, 2012). This paper takes advantage of the differences across Australia's federation to examine the recent experience of directly elected mayors in Queensland, especially the results of local government elections held in 2012. It is argued that several factors contributed to the high turnover rates of both mayors and councillors, including the 2012 Queensland state election and the 2008 amalgamation process. However, the requirement for directly elected mayors was an important factor contributing to what the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ, 2012, 12) described as a 'significantly high' proportion of 'corporate knowledge' being lost. Moreover, the direct election of mayors, in particular those charged with 'semi-executive' authority, is fraught with problems and thus should not to be implemented in all Australian local government systems.
Meng, X., Chin, A. & Grant, B.J. 2015, 'Long-run Effect of the Global Financial Crisis on Singapore's Tourism and the Economy', Asian Economic Journal, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 41-60.
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This study employs recent Singaporean tourism survey data, the updated Singaporean input–output tables and a computable general equilibrium model to gauge the long-run effects of the 2008 global financial crisis and selected policy responses. The simulation results suggest that the global financial crisis has had mild negative long-run effects on the overall development of Singapore's economy, and that the GST deduction policy ought to offset this negative effect.
Fisher, J., Grant, B.J. & Palmer, D. 2015, ''Bad teacher? Using films as texts when teaching business ethics: Exploring the issues'', International Journal of Business and Management, vol. 10, no. 8.
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The contemporary teaching of business ethics necessarily involves the recognition that texts, materials and modes of assessment ought to be rendered appealing to students, while at the same time ensuring the quality of teaching. Prima facie the use of film can be seen as a way to address this dilemma: Students may be attracted to the 'delivery' of course content through the medium of film as opposed to, for example, standard lecture format, participation in online activities or, at a stretch, reading and writing. An alternative scenario can also be envisioned where the use of film in teaching business ethics is bad professional practice, pandering to both the requirement for positive assessments from students and for technological change. This paper discusses these issues by critically examining the films recommended by a contemporary business ethics text, Crane and Matten (2010). We identify significant problems with the use of two films, The Corporation (2005) and Michael Clayton (2007). Against our own criticisms of these two texts, the paper then focuses upon Ken Loach's (2007) film It's a Free World, arguing that it is a useful text for the illustration of what students, more often than not, regard as the clichéd issue of unskilled foreign wage labourers being exploited in 'advanced' western economies. Despite the considerable virtues of Loach's particular text, we argue that any recourse to film as an alternative method of examining a range of issues in business ethics has to be treated with caution.
Dalton, V., Grant, B.J., Smith-Ruig, T. & Hempsall, K. 2015, 'Developing the virtuous self in an online MBA: Reflections on instruments and processes', International Journal of Business and Management, vol. 10, no. 10.
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The relationship between virtue ethics and leadership is profound and has been the subject of sustained examination (see, for example, Fontrodona, et al. 2012). The core of these debates has centred on the way in which a life of the good, conceived as a process of self- awareness built through experience and reflection, has the capacity to comprise the people who inhabit, lead, and constitute organizations. Prima facie management education ought to entail the explicit development of the virtuous self, rather than this education being of a residual type. This requires a more reflective approach to management practice. We are challenged in this endeavour by our status as providers of online education. Our central concern in this paper is to provide an account of a Leadership Development ePortfolio, particularly its development to a program of online leadership skill development. This includes, among other skills, the development of reflective practice skills, development of self-awareness, self-mastery (Senge, 1990), and a consideration of how to apply those skills to others (e.g.: mentoring) and with others (e.g.: team learning, service learning). We argue that introducing these elements to a program fosters the development of ethically virtuous management graduates.
Grant, B.J., Ryan, R., Hastings, C., Lawrie, A., O'Shea, E. & Wortley, L. 2015, 'The Australian experience of amalgamation: Asking the citizenry and exploring the implications', Australian Journal of Public Administration.
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Debate over municipal amalgamations in Australian continues to dominate local government reform agendas, with the putative need to achieve economies of scale and scope consistently set against anti-amalgamation arguments designed to preserve extant communities. Following from an examination of recent episodes of consolidation in Australia, this paper reports on citizens' attitudes to amalgamation garnered from a national survey of 2,006 individuals. We found that generally, citizens are ambivalent toward amalgamation, although attitudes were influenced by particular demographic characteristics and attitudes to representation, belonging, service delivery requirements and the costs thereof. The results suggest that, away from the local government sector itself, structural reform may not be the vexatious issue it is often portrayed as. The implications of this are explored.
Dollery, B., Kortt, M. & Grant, B.J. 2014, 'Fools rush in: The case against radical water and wastewater restructuring in regional New South Wales', International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 1-9.
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In its 2008 Final Report, the Independent Inquiry into Secure and Sustainable Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Services for Non-Metropolitan New South Wales (NSW) recommended that the (then) 106 local water utilities (LWUs) be restructured through regional aggregation into 32 regional entities. This recommendation has been echoed without any further analysis or substantiation in Infrastructure NSW's (2012) First Things First: State Infrastructure Strategy, 2012–2032, with its call for the present 105 entities to be radically reduced to 'around 30 authorities. This paper demonstrates that the case for drastic regional water reorganization along in these lines in country NSW has been fatally weakened by (a) the recent strong performance of NSW LWUs as made plain in the 2010–11 NSW Water Supply and Sewerage Performance Monitoring Report and (b) the failure of the Tasmanian water restructuring strategy on which much of the Independent Inquiry's restructuring model had been based.
Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2014, 'Old foes: Structural change and local democracy in Australian local government'', Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 8-41.
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The debate over local government reform in Australia continues to be polarised between arguments in favour of increasing economic efficiency and a desire to retain local democracy. After providing a summary of this debate in Australian local government, we critically assess the reform process in Australia against the four models of local democracy proposed by Haus and Sweeting (2006). We contend that local government reform in Australia can be seen in a more positive light, with local representation broadened rather than diminished. However, notions of network democracy and network governance should be treated with caution.
Kortt, M., Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2013, 'The relationship between religious affiliation and returns to human capital for women', Economic Papers, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 395-404.
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This paper explores the relationship between wages and religious affiliation for Australian women using a human capital earnings function corrected for selectivity in labour force participation. Data drawn from the 2004, 2007, and 2010 waves of the Household Income Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) Survey were analysed for women between the age of 25 and 54. Our results indicate that women who identify as being Catholic benefit from a wage premium of 4.5 per cent relative to women who identify as being Anglicanthe largest Protestant denomination in Australiaeven after controlling for a range of demographic, social and economic characteristics. Potential explanations such as the attitude of women towards work and returns to education and experience do not appear to be major determinants of this wage-differential. Thus, it appears other unobservable traits may be a key factor in explaining the observed Catholic wage premium.
Fisher, J. & Grant, B.J. 2013, 'Public Value: Recovering the ethical for public sector managers', International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 248-255.
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First put forward by Mark Moore in Creating Public Value (1995), public value continues to be the subject of conjecture and refutation across a range of academic disciplines. After presenting an account of the original theory, this article explores the contested meanings attributed to public value. We argue that while Moore's theory can be viewed, inter alia, as a post-New Public Management (NPM) paradigm, or as self-serving rhetoric for public managers, these perspectives neglect the strong ethical component of the theory. Further, we argue that an understanding of the relevance of Moore's ethical prescriptions for public managers is central to grasping his account of the relationship between politics and administration and for his project for a reinvigorated public sector.
Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Kortt, M. 2013, 'An evaluation of amalgamation and financial viability in Australian local government', Public Finance and Management, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 215-238.
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Like numerous other local government systems in developed countries, Australian local government confronts daunting financial problems, perhaps most acutely evident in the emergence of a severe backlog in local infrastructure maintenance and renewal. Australian local government policy makers have relied to an unusual and extreme degree on compulsory council consolidation as the main policy instrument to tackle the financial crisis. This paper sets out the dimensions of the financial crisis and the attendant heavy reliance on forced amalgamation and then goes to consider the efficacy of compulsory council consolidation as a means of improving financial viability in Australian local government through the prism provided by eight national and state-based public inquiries into financial sustainability in local government over the past decade. With one exception, these inquiries are skeptical of the ability of forced amalgamation to improve local authority financial viability
Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2013, 'SYMPOSIUM ON AMALGAMATION AND FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT: PART 2', Public Finance and Management, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 142-147.
Grant, B.J., Fleming, E., Mounter, S., McFarlane, J. & Griffith, G. 2013, 'Collective Action in the Value Chain: a Conceptual Framework for Analysis and Policy for the Australian Wine Industry', Enometrica, vol. 6, no. 1.
James, K., Grant, B.J. & Leung, J.K.-.S. 2013, 'An analysis of Singapore's aware case', Malaysian Journal of History, Politics & Strategic Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 1-23.
James, K., Grant, B.J. & Sim-Leung, J.K. 2013, 'Singapore's Opposition Community - Grassroots Activists in the Concrete Jungle', Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 18, pp. 3-24.
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Based on data gained from qualitative research techniques, this paper presents and discusses the opinions of leading Singaporean oppositional grassroots activists about the state of play in Singaporean politics and civil society and likely developments over the next ten years. Our interviewees show that the Singaporean grassroots opposition activist community, while small, is passionate and committed to taking its country away from the right-wing authoritarian pathway. Those activists more interested in civil society and NGOs than contesting elections are eager to expand and deepen the civil society in Singapore. We also find that certain school-age opposition activists have already decided that the official establishment ideology, as taught in school textbooks, is not the reality of Singapores history as they understand it. Activists will continue to focus on the income-inequality problem and human rights issues surrounding Article 377A of the Penal Code (which continues to make homosexual sexual acts between males illegal), the Internal Security Act (which allows detention without trial), and use of defamation suits by ruling-party politicians to bankrupt opposition party politicians and activists.
Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2012, 'Autonomy versus oversight in local government reform: The implications of home rule for Australian local government', Australian Journal Of Political Science, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 99-214.
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This paper examines Australian local government in terms of local council autonomy as set against the oversight exercised by state governments. In particular, we investigate `home rule' in the United States and its potential relevance to the Australian milieu. We argue that prima facie the operation of home rule is problematic due to its litigious nature, and that while the implementation of home rule might be possible in an Australian local government jurisdiction, it is improbable. However, consideration of home rule as a principle by which statelocal government relationships might be organised sheds light on the limits to the autonomy and independence of Australian local governments.
Dollery, B., Kortt, M. & Grant, B.J. 2012, 'Harnessing private funds to alleviate the Australian local government infrastructure backlog', Economic Papers, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 114-122.
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A series of national and state public inquiries into the financial sustainability of local government have demonstrated that all Australian local government jurisdictions face a daunting local infrastructure maintenance and renewal backlog. Various solutions to the problem have been advanced in the literature, including the establishment of an Australian municipal bond market to facilitate the use of private sector finance to fund the remediation of the infrastructure shortfall (Byrnes et al., 2008). However, despite the conceptual attraction of this particular policy proposal, as a majority of Australian local authorities are small, with limited administrative and technical capacity, they would have great difficulty in securing access to a municipal bond market. In this paper, we consider municipal banks and bond banks as alternative institutional solutions to the Australian local government infrastructure backlog
Fisher, J. & Grant, B.J. 2012, 'Beyond corporate social responsibility: Public value and the business of politics', International Journal of Business and Management, vol. 7, no. 7, pp. 1-14.
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Recent accounts of the changing role of business have identified a shift from corporate social responsibility to specifically political roles. This paper examines the relevance of Mark Moores theory of Public Value (1995) as a decision-making framework for these new roles. After providing an account of the original theory, we explore how it can be deployed as a prescriptive tool based upon Moores (1995) account of public goods, virtue ethics and an account of civic virtue we derive from the theory. The discussion invites critical reflection upon the changing roles of business, specifically the distinction between public and private organisations.
Gow, J., Grant, B.J. & Colvin, M. 2012, 'Socio-economic characteristics of HIV in a South African prison', International Journal of Business and Management, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 31-39.
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South Africa has placed increased importance on addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic and has identified people in prisons as one of several high risk groups. Despite this emphasis, respective departments have not pursued the task of data collection at all vigorously. A sample of 274 volunteer inmates was drawn from the Westville Maximum Security Prison, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province. A probit model was used and the data analysed to establish statistically significant risk factors for transmission of HIV and importantly the characteristics of those who are infected or not infected by HIV. The study found that sero-prevalence rates were significantly higher than the general population, and that the two socio-economic factors correlating to HIV/AIDS were ethnicity and age.
Kortt, M., Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2012, 'Protestantism and work ethic: Evidence from Australia', The Empirical Economics Letters, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 197-202.
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We examine Webers theory of Protestant work ethic using data drawn from the Household Income Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) Survey. Our results suggest that while education offers one possible explanation of work ethic, we find no evidence that work ethic is affected by denominated-based education and religious importance.
Gow, J., George, G. & Grant, B.J. 2012, 'Managing the costs of HIV/AIDS: A case study of a South African contract cleaning company', Development Southern Africa, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 434-447.
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This paper, based on a case study of a South African contract cleaning company in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, adds to the recent literature on the management of the financial impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. After situating the research alongside recent contributions that have examined large enterprises, and small, medium and micro enterprises, the paper provides a profile of the company and its predominantly female workforce. The company's management of costs incurred due to HIV/AIDS is critically assessed from the perspective of financial sustainability, using an AIDS Projection Model developed by Matthews (2007). It was found that while continued employment of this workforce is economically sustainable, both from the perspective of the business and the associated provident fund, the costs to employees are far from equitable. The paper therefore recommends the implementation of a holistic HIV/AIDS management programme, including treatment and prevention activities.
Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Blackwell, B. 2012, 'A survey of community engagement in Australian local government', Journal of African and Asian Local Government Studies, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 1-29.
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Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Kortt, M. 2012, 'Local government and regional governance in Australia: History, theory and policy', Public Policy, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1-6.
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Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & van der Westhuizen, G. 2012, 'Locally constructed regionalism: The City of Greater Geraldton, Western Australia', Public Policy, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 79-96.
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The idea of recasting the Australian political landscape to incorporate an increased recognition of regions is both longstanding and intriguing. For example, in his introduction to New Australian States, U. R. Ellis (1933: 9) observed that while 'no complete history of the fight for local self-government in Australia has ever been written the Riverina and New England movements date back more than seventy years and the desire for domestic independence in Central and North Queensland has existed for almost as long'. Couched in these terms, arguments for increasing the number of states, based upon regional self-identification, were embedded in federalism as political theory. This theory recognised both the validity of the concept of local autonomy, or what Ellis (1933: 9) then referred to as 'home rule' (see, for example, Grant and Dollery, 2012), as well as the dangers of an 'unbalanced federalism', whereby regional and rural areas within states became subservient to the electorally-dominant industrialised cities.
Kortt, M., Dollery, B.E. & Grant, B.J. 2012, 'Local and regional tensions: Shared services', Public Policy, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 47-62.
The idea of recasting the Australian political landscape to incorporate an increased recognition of regions is both longstanding and intriguing. For example, in his introduction to New Australian States, U. R. Ellis (1933: 9) observed that while 'no complete history of the fight for local self-government in Australia has ever been written the Riverina and New England movements date back more than seventy years and the desire for domestic independence in Central and North Queensland has existed for almost as long'. Couched in these terms, arguments for increasing the number of states, based upon regional self-identification, were embedded in federalism as political theory. This theory recognised both the validity of the concept of local autonomy, or what Ellis (1933: 9) then referred to as 'home rule' (see, for example, Grant and Dollery, 2012), as well as the dangers of an 'unbalanced federalism', whereby regional and rural areas within states became subservient to the electorally-dominant industrialised cities.
Kelaher, D., Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2011, 'Trade liberalisation in Indonesian health services: prospects and policies', International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 34, no. 8, pp. 528-538.
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The worldwide increase in demand for health services offers developing countries, like Indonesia, significant opportunities to expand international trade in this area. However, policy aimed at achieving this objective must carefully consider the World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). For signatory nations and those considering becoming signatory nations, the procedural, structural, and other effects of the GATS make it a formidable challenge for national health policy alongside its impact on trade liberalization. Invoking the four GATS health care trade modes, this article develops possible approaches to Indonesian health services in the context of trade liberalization.
Dollery, B., Grant, B.J. & Crase, L. 2011, 'Love thy neighbour: A social capital approach to local government partnerships', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 156-166.
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While controversy surrounds compulsory consolidation as a means of improving the operational efficiency of local government, the literature suggests that gains can accrue to groups of local councils which form voluntary alliances as platforms for shared service delivery. However, real-world experience has demonstrated that voluntary alliances in local government are difficult to establish and do not always endure in the longer term. After reviewing the limited extant scholarly literature on shared services and local council voluntary alliances, as well as applications of the social capital approach to inter-organisational endeavour, such as the Weber and Weber (2010) venture capital model, this article argues that the social capital approach can offer insights into local council cooperative alliance and shared service models.
Kortt, M., Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2011, 'A normative model of local government de-amalgamation in Australia', Australian Journal Of Political Science, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 601-616.
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Ongoing local community dissatisfaction in some newly amalgamated local government areas resulting from the 2007 Queensland forced amalgamation program has raised the prospect of de-merger in that state. One catalyst has been the Opposition's commitment to de-amalgamation should it acquire government. Apart from some descriptive discussion of actual de-amalgamation episodes, almost no prescriptive analysis exists on the optimal form any de-merger process may take. Using two documented cases of de-amalgamation in metropolitan and regional settings, this exploratory paper seeks to address this gap in the literature on local government by presenting a `stylised approach to de-amalgamation designed for Australian local government conditions built around five generic principles.
Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Gow, J. 2011, 'Local democracy and local government efficiency: The case of elected executives in Australian local government', Australian Journal Of Political Science, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 51-67.
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In the international context it has been argued that institutional reform to leadership in local government can improve the sector in terms of both its democratic legitimacy and its operational efficiency. In Australia, despite two decades of far-reaching reform processes across state government jurisdictions, focused heavily on structural change, local government still faces daunting problems, yet the potential of reform to political leadership as a method of alleviating these problems has not been fully explored. This paper thus examines the applicability of alternative leadership models to Australian local government, in particular the elected executive model which characterises some American and European local government systems. We argue that the introduction of elected executives could prove problematic in terms of accountability and representation in Australian local government.
Conway, M., Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2011, 'Shared service models in Australian local government: The New England Strategic Alliance model five years on', Australian Geographer, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 183-199.
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In 2004, the New England Strategic Alliance of Councils (NESAC) was formed in a successful effort by its member municipalities to avoid forced amalgamation by the NSW government in its (then) program of compulsory council consolidation. The Armidale-Dumaresq, Guyra, Uralla and Walcha Councils, as well as the New England Weeds County Council, formed a `strategic alliance under the auspices of NESAC. Over the past 5 years this alliance of councils has developed a model of shared service provision. However, in early 2009, the Walcha Shire Council dramatically announced that it would leave NESAC. This momentous decision raises several interesting questions and may have broader lessons for shared service provision in Australian local government. This paper thus seeks to augment the existing embryonic literature on shared services in Australian local government by analysing the withdrawal of the Walcha Shire Council from NESAC through interviews with the general managers and mayors of the participating organisations.
Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2011, 'Introduction', Journal of Economic and Social Policy, vol. 14, no. 2.
Special Edition: Local Government and Local Government Policy in Australia
Grant, B.J. & Fisher, J. 2011, 'Public Value: Positive ethics for Australian local government', Journal of Economic and Social Policy, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 118-138.
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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.
Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Conway, M. 2011, 'The construction of regional development in the boardroom: Evidence from New South Wales and Western Australia', Journal of Economic and Social Policy, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 139-163.
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Abstract The expression `regional development has entered contemporary policy discourse as if it represented a commonly understood and well-defined activity. This paper considers the manner in which board members of state government-funded regional development agencies in New South Wales (NSW) and Western Australia (WA) describe regional development. We outline four major discourses surrounding regional development in the literature and compare these with the narratives gathered from 53 regional development board members in NSW and WA. Analysis of these semistructured interviews suggests that board members see regional development in overlapping and coalescing discourses which inform understandings of their roles within the broader framework of regional development governance. Further, we suggest that regional development is principally driven by uncertainty and the boards are regarded, at least by those within the boardroom, as instruments of politicised activity.
Mounter, S., Grant, B.J., Fleming, E. & Griffith, G. 2011, 'Latecomers: Charting a course for the New England Australia wine region', Australian Journal of Regional Studies, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 300-329.
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The Australian wine industry is currently experiencing a correction, ostensibly a victim of its own success. Some observers have concluded that prospects for the industry in the medium- to long-term are strong. However, a consortium of peak industry organizations recently called for more radical approaches to industry restructuring to protect its core viability. Against these uncertain prospects, this paper adopts a multidisciplinary approach to analyse the prospects for one of Australias newest wine regions, New England Australia. We argue that despite the barriers to its development, a commercially sound course can be charted for New England Australia. This course is based on a regional strategic alliance featuring leadership, improved inter-industry cooperation, niche marketing and a branding strategy focused on what is unique to the region.
Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2011, 'Financial sustainability and financial viability in Australian local government', Public Finance and Management, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 28-47.
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Sustainability has become an important ingredient in contemporary public policy. However, considerable ambiguity surrounds the precise meaning of sustainability in concrete policy contexts, such as financial sustainability in local government. Using recent Australian national and state public inquiries into fiscal sustainability in local government as an illustrative example, this paper considers the tensions that derive from the dual role of local government as local democratic institution and an efficient local service provider, and the difficulties involved in defining fiscal sustainability adequately. It is argued that the concept of sustainability cannot be meaningfully fully reduced to narrow accounting measures in local government. Financial sustainability would thus be more accurately described as financial viability in local government, with the term sustainability in local government employed to cover local action directed at global sustainability.
Dollery, B., Crase, L. & Grant, B.J. 2011, 'The local capacity, local community and local governance dimensions of sustainability in Australian Local Government', Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, vol. 8, pp. 1-22.
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The problem of the `financial sustainability of individual local councils represents the most significant policy question at issue in contemporary debate on Australian local government. This concern with financial sustainability has not only dominated almost all recent local government conferences across Australia, but it has also formed the capstone of several public inquiries into state local government systems. For instance, at the state level, both the South Australian Financial Sustainability Review Boards (FSRB) (2005) Rising to the Challenge and the Independent Inquiry into the Financial Sustainability of NSW Local Government s (LGI) (2006) Are Councils Sustainable were centrally occupied with determining the meaning of financial sustainability in Australian local government and developing measures of financial sustainability. Moreover, the Queensland Local Government Association (LGAQ) (2006) Size, Shape and Sustainability (SSS) program, the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) (2006) Systemic Sustainability Study and the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) (2007) Review of the Financial Sustainability of Local Government in Tasmania had at their core the problem of assessing financial sustainability in their respective local government systems.
Grant, B.J. & Smith, G. 2011, 'Thermodynamics and the economics of sustainability', Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics and Business Law, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 42-50.
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This paper argues that the concept of economic sustainability, which can be formulated in principle but which is difficult to pin down, can be usefully informed by a consideration of the laws of thermodynamics. After providing an account of the two laws of thermodynamics, we suggest that they can form the basis of matching `energy source to task, thereby contributing to sustainable energy use. Further, provided an expanded role for planning is allowed alongside the operation of markets, we argue that the laws of thermodynamics can assist in the transition to a significantly more sustainable economy rather than one predicated primarily on economic growth.
James, K., Walsh, R. & Grant, B.J. 2011, 'Poverty in Paradise City: When the Jester has a broken heart', Journal of Research in Peace, Gender and Development, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 138-154.
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Via detailed personal interviews, this paper canvasses the views of leading Singapore opposition politicians and grassroots activists about poverty and income inequality in Singapore society. The role of opposition internet activism is also explored. Semi-structured personal and group interviews, with politicians and grassroots activists; literature search; and attendance at opposition party functions. The opposition in general and Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and National Solidarity Party (NSP) in particular have repeatedly highlighted the growing income inequality and poverty in the country. Pictures in the SDPs promotional literature skillfully and dialectically present wealth and poverty in Singapore within the same pictorial image. Interviewees speak of the Dickensian living conditions in the one-room rental flats in Bukit Merah, just a taxi ride from Changi Airport, in the Minister Mentor Harry Lee Kuan Yews constituency of Tanjong Pagar GRC. The SDPs Alternative Economic Programme Its about You (2010) outlines the Partys proposals for minimum wage and unemployment insurance. The researchers obtain direct and personal access to Singapores grassroots opposition community, including people that are not party leaders and who are difficult to access. The views of this community have rarely been heard because of the Singapore Governments hegemonic control of mainstream media within the country
Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2011, 'Political geography as public policy? "Place-shaping" as a mode of local government reform', Ethics, Policy and Environment, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 193-209.
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The release of the Final Report of the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government in England, entitled Place-shaping: A shared ambition for the future of local government (Lyons Inquiry into Local Government) was a significant milestone in the debate on local government reform. Place-shaping is a sophisticated piece of rhetoric and policy making and can be seen to have relevance far beyond its own jurisdiction. This paper traces its theoretical antecedents alongside developments in the debate on local government in England. Despite its broad appeal, we argue that problems familiar to local government such as rent-seeking and cost shifting will be heightened rather than resolved with any take-up of the place-shaping agenda.
Grant, B.J., Dollery, B. & Hearfield, C. 2011, 'New England Australia: What follows from regional status? A comparative, political economy approach', International Journal of Wine Business Research, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 83-98.
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to contrast the marketing strategies of the New England Australia wine-producing region with those of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France. While the two regions occupy similar market positions, they nonetheless reveal diametrically opposed marketing strategies. Against the background of this comparative discussion, the paper proposes methods to enhance the development of the New England Australia wine region so that it becomes a more complete example of successful rural restructuring. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a comparative, political economy approach to explore the marketing strategies of the New England Australia wine-producing region, and the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France. In particular, following the work of Garcea-Parpet, the paper seeks to demonstrate that markets are most usefully viewed as social and political/legal constructs, as well as economic exchanges, and that focussing on the former elements is a fruitful way to proceed, both in terms of analysis and policy prescription for the industry. Findings Comparison with the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France generates future potential opportunities for New England Australia. A number of issues are discussed with respect to the organisation of the industry and its representation, particularly focusing on leadership and the extent to which leadership was both a catalyst for change and a driver of continued success in the case of Languedoc-Roussillon. Originality/value This paper represents the first exploration of the impact of regional status for the New England Australia wine region and the first comparative analysis of the region with Languedoc-Roussillon.
Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2011, 'Economic efficiency versus local democracy? An evaluation of structural change and local democracy in Australian local government', Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics and Business Law, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 1-20.
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The debate on local government reform in Australia has been characterised by a dichotomy between arguments for increasing economic efficiency, largely through compulsory consolidation, and concern for the erosion of local democracy through the formation of larger local government entities. After providing a synoptic account of the Australian debate on structural reform and economic efficiency in local government, this paper considers the impact on local democracy of policies aimed at enhancing local government efficiency through amalgamation through the prism of four different models of democracy for local government (`representative, `participatory, `user and `network) developed by Haus and Sweeting (2006). It is argued that a more positive assessment of reform outcomes is possible provided we conceive of local democracy, and in particular local representation, in broad rather than narrow terms. However, any embrace of `network democracy or `network governance has to be tempered with caution.
Conway, M.L., Dollery, B. & Grant, B. 2011, 'Shared service models in Australian local government: The fragmentation of the New England Strategic Alliance 5 years on', Australian Geographer, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 207-223.
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In 2004, the New England Strategic Alliance of Councils (NESAC) was formed in a successful effort by its member municipalities to avoid forced amalgamation by the NSW government in its (then) program of compulsory council consolidation. The Armidale-Dumaresq, Guyra, Uralla and Walcha Councils, as well as the New England Weeds County Council, formed a 'strategic alliance' under the auspices of NESAC. Over the past 5 years this alliance of councils has developed a model of shared service provision. However, in early 2009, the Walcha Shire Council dramatically announced that it would leave NESAC. This momentous decision raises several interesting questions and may have broader lessons for shared service provision in Australian local government. This paper thus seeks to augment the existing embryonic literature on shared services in Australian local government by analysing the withdrawal of the Walcha Shire Council from NESAC through interviews with the general managers and mayors of the participating organisations. © 2011 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc.
Dollery, B., Grant, B.J. & Akimov, A. 2010, 'A typology of shared service provision in Australian local government', Australian Geographer, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 217-231.
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Disappointment with the results of forced amalgamation programs across almost all Australian local government jurisdictions has created great interest in shared service models as an alternative method of improving the operational efficiency of local councils, while at the same time preserving local democracy and local autonomy. While an embryonic literature on shared service provision in the Australian municipal milieu does exist, much remains to be done. This paper seeks to contribute to this nascent literature in two main ways: (a) to locate shared services in local government within broader global trends and theoretical disputations on devolution and local economic development, highlighting the importance of political geography in these debates; and (b) in the light of this complexity and ambiguity, develop a new typology of local government shared service provision to inform public policy making on real-world problems in Australian local government.
Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2010, 'Place-shaping by local government in developing countries: lessons for the developed world', International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 251-261.
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The Lyons Inquiry into local government in Britain represented a significant contribution to the debate on local government reform, with policy ramifications well beyond contemporary Britain. This article considers the Inquiry's concept of place-shaping as a mode of local government reform which captures the experience of a number of developing countries in recent years. By way of illustrative examples, we examine these processes in the specific contexts of South Africa and Indonesia. In particular, we consider whether the devolution of functions to municipalities in developmental settings constitutes place-shaping, and how this bears on processes of local government reform in developed nations
Dollery, B., Grant, B.J. & Crase, L. 2010, 'Not what they seem: An analysis of strategic service delivery partnerships in local government', Australasian Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 59-74.
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Council amalgamation has always been the favoured policy instrument of almost all Australian state governments to increase the operational efficiency of local councils. However, a host of recent Australian state and national inquiries have concluded that shared service provision by groups of cooperating municipalities represents a superior means of achieving the same end. One consequence has been a concerted effort by British commercial companies to introduce Strategic Service Delivery Partnerships under the guise of shared service models into Australian local government. Using the example of the Ipswich City Council in the Australian state of Queensland, this paper argues that Strategic Service Delivery Partnerships do not constitute bona fide shared service PC!rtnerships, they do not overcome the well-known problems of traditional methods ofcontracting out complex council services, and they possess other unfortunate characteristics. This renders Strategic Service Delivery Partnerships unsuitable for most forms of local government service provision.
Gow, J. & Grant, B.J. 2010, 'Human-resources strategies for managing HIV/AIDS: the case of the South African forestry industry', African Journal of AIDS Research, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 285-295.
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Previous work has focused on HIV prevalence among forestry workers and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the sustainability of forest resources. Following a review of work examining the impacts of HIV/AIDS on the South African economy, this article presents original qualitative research examining the responses of company management to the HIV epidemic across a range of enterprises in the South African forestry industry, including large companies, contractors and cooperatives. At the level of the enterprise, management occupies a critical nexus, at which the intersecting requirements of complex government legislation, the wellbeing of workers and the demands of the business must be met. The research demonstrates that large forestry companies tend to provide only a small fraction of their workforces with HIV/AIDS education, prevention or treatment services, as they have essentially outsourced the requirement through the use of labour-supply contractors who, by and large, provide workers with scant HIV/AIDS-related programmes or benefits. Moreover, the extent to which the different types of forestry enterprises incorporate the management of HIV/AIDS in the workforce with the management of the business is highly variable, and in most instances falls short of legislative requirements that have been in place for over a decade. The implications of this for the forestry industry in South Africa are acute.
Gow, J. & Grant, B.J. 2010, 'Grape-grubbers: The case against wine industry re-regulation', Policy, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 26-31.
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Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2010, 'Constitutionalism, federalism and reform? Pape v Commissioner of Taxation and Anor -- A conversation with Bryan Pape', Public Policy, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 53-63.
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On 18 February 2009 the Tax Bonus for Working Australians Act (No 2) came into force, providing that the Commissioner of Taxation pay a tax bonus to eligible Australian citizens - amounting to $7.7 billion for 8.7 million taxpayers - as part of the Rudd Government's three-pronged $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan designed to ameliorate the impact of the 2008-09 global economic retraction. The validity of the Act was challenged by Bryan Pape, Senior Lecturer in Law in the University of New England. On 3 April 2009 a majority ruled that the Act was valid but in doing so said the Court's reasons would be published at a later date. The majority was revealed to be a 4: 3 decision when the reasons were published on 7 July 2009. In this conversation with Bryan Pape, this paper explores the reasons of the judges and their implications. While the case can be read as demonstrative of the political division between conservative federalists and progressive centralists, we suggest that the case invokes revisiting of the nature of Australian federalism.
Dollery, B., Goode, S. & Grant, B. 2010, 'Structural reform of local government in Australia: A sustainable amalgamation model for country councils', Space and Polity, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 289-304.
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Council amalgamation has always been the major policy instrument for structural reform in Australian local government. While the Australian literature has spawned taxonomic attempts at classifying models of structural change in local government, a serious deficiency in this body of work has been the specification of amalgamation as an undifferentiated category embodying the unconditional merger of many small local authorities into a single larger entity. This paper seeks to remedy this problem by developing a model of sustainable amalgamation and contrasting it with unconditional amalgamation in using a stylised example derived from four existing Western Australian country shires contemplating consolidation. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2009, 'Tortoises and hares: The race to shared services across Australian state and territory jurisdictions', International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 43-54.
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All tiers of government in Australia have recently aimed at enhancing service provision, with shared service platforms a recent innovation. To date there has been no scholarly inquiry into comparative shared service performance at the Australian state level. This article evaluates the experience of different state jurisdictions in adopting shared service platforms within Whole of Government approaches to public sector reform. It demonstrates that those jurisdictions most eager to embrace shared services have created organizations susceptible to particular adverse outcomes and that, far from implementing shared services programs, they may have installed monopoly-provider conditions for a range of back-office functions.
Dollery, B., Grant, B.J. & Crase, L. 2009, 'The implications of the Lyons Report in England for structural reform in Australian local government', International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 32, no. 10, pp. 852-867.
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The Lyons Inquiry into English local government presented its Final Report in 2007. It has significant implications for local government jurisdictions beyond England. This article considers the import of the Lyons Inquiry for reform to Australian local government. It is argued that the Lyons Inquiry adds weight to other work that questions the traditional reliance on amalgamation as the chief instrument of Australian local government reform. In particular, the place-shaping thesis developed in the Lyons Inquiry shows that the Australian emphasis on structural reform has been misdirected. Further, the Lyons Report offers a range of policy options besides municipal amalgamation.
Kelly, A., Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2009, 'Regional development and local government: Three generations of federal intervention', Australian Journal of Regional Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 171-193.
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Contemporary Australian local government faces several daunting problems, not least escalating financial un-sustainability and local infrastructure depletion. The main response of the various state and territory governments has taken the form of a series structural reform programs, with a strong emphasis on forced amalgamation. However, widespread dissatisfaction with the consequences of these compulsory consolidation programs has led to a search for alternative policy solutions based largely on shared services and various types of regional co-operation between local councils. This paper seeks to place proposed `regional solutions to contemporary problems in historical perspective by providing a comparative account of three distinct federal government initiatives of `region-directed policy in the post-World Two era: the `nation-building of the 1940s; the `paternalism of the 1970s; and `self-sufficiency of the 1990s. We argue that, not withstanding the complex relationship between historical circumstances and changing state-federal relations, important lessons for current local government policy making can be learnt from a critical assessment of these episodes of federal intervention at the regional level.
Dollery, B. & Grant, B.J. 2009, 'Australian Alternatives to Local Government Consolidation', Public Policy, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 87-103.
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In its The Journey: Sustainability into the Future, the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) proposed a program of self-initiated reform for local government, with its centrepiece comprising a Regional Model of local governance based on constellations of local councils in the existing Zone groupings. The Regional Model has been designed to preserve local autonomy and local identity by retaining existing council democratic structures, but at the same time facilitate cooperation and joint service provision through the Regional Model in those service areas where scale economies and other benefits from shared provision can be reaped. This paper places the Regional Model in the context of the Australian literature on alternative models of local governance and then critically evaluates its main characteristics.
Jones, S., Dollery, B.E. & Grant, B.J. 2009, 'A generic approach to conceptualising economic development in Australian local government', Journal of Economic and Social Policy, vol. 31, no. 1.
O'Keefe, S., Grant, B.J. & Dollery, B. 2008, 'Local councils as 'Place-shapers': The implications of the Lyons Report for Australian local government', Australian Journal Of Political Science, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 481-494.
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The recent past has seen an intense focus on `financial sustainability in Australian local government to the exclusion of other important dimensions of local governance. This restrictive emphasis on finance has been unfortunate as it has ignored important developments in the international literature, which is best exemplified in the landmark 2007 Lyons Report in the United Kingdom. In this official inquiry, Sir Michael Lyons reiterates the critical significance of local voice and local choice in contemporary local government and develops the concept of `place-shaping as epitomising the modern role of local councils. However, British local government enjoys far broader service provision responsibilities than its Australian counterpart. Accordingly, this paper thus seeks to outline the nature of `place-shaping, as conceived in the Lyons Report, and consider its applicability in the much narrower Australian local government milieu.
Davidson, A.P. & Grant, B. 2001, 'Rural Australia: Neo-liberalism or a "new feudalism"?', Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 289-305.
In Australia, many regions and communities are becoming socio-economically marginalised and the prospects for their future viability less assured. Suggestions that Western civilization is heading toward a "New Feudalism" are surprisingly prevalent in contemporary social theory. Focused on small towns in northwest New South Wales, this article examines how changes in government service provision and styles of local governance signify a shift from the welfare to the contract state as the basis for political economy. While such a shift can be criticised in its own terms, it is suggested that the basis for a revitalised debate can be achieved if what is happening to local governance and communities is conceptualized as signifying the emergence of new types of feudal relations, based on a shift from rights to privileges, opportunities to obligations, and inclusion to exclusion.

Other

Grant, B. & Ryan, R. 2015, 'NSW councils shake-up: is the endgame near?', The Conversation.
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The Baird government is pressing on with its agenda for restructuring local government across New South Wales and for the Sydney Metropolitan Region in particular. Casting ahead to see what the outcomes might be, the experience of other Australian states and territories is salutary. It appears likely there will be a political price to pay at the next state election due in March 2019. Of more concern is that the reasons for undertaking reform have been lost in the fog of politics – both party-political and state-local.

Reports

Ryan, R., Hastings, C., Woods, R., Lawrie, A. & Grant, B. 2015, Why Local Government Matters.
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Why Local Government Matters is a major piece of social research on community attitudes to local government by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG), undertaken with substantial expertise from staff of the Centre for Local Government at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS:CLG). The research aims to better understand how and why the activities of local governments, and their roles in society are valued by communities.
Ryan, R., Hastings, C., Woods, R., Lawrie, A. & Grant, B. Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government 2015, Why Local Government Matters: summary report, pp. 1-20, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
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Grant, B.J., Tan, S.-.F., Ryan, R. & Nesbitt, R. Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government 2014, Public Value Background Summary Paper, pp. i-24, Sydney.
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The Public Value project, led by the Local Government Business Excellence Network (LGBEN) with support from the Australian Centre of Excellence Local Government (ACELG), explores the current understanding of Public Value concepts. The aims of the project are to develop an understanding of Public Value Creation, to provide examples of Public Value Creation from the Australian local government sector, to assist others in identifying examples of Public Value Creation from their own councils and to provide accounts of these examples to demonstrate how local government contributes to is communities and more broadly. Intended outcomes include the development of a robust definition and understanding of Public Value Creation and assisting local governments to place themselves on a footing for continuous organisational improvement.
Woods, R., Grant, B., Ryan, R. & Dowler, B. UTS:Centre for Local Government 2014, Regional Library Models - Literature Review, Sydney.
The Centre for Local Government (CLG) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) has been engaged by the State Library of New South Wales (State Library of NSW) to undertake research to explore and recommend regional management models for NSW public libraries.
Tan, S.F. & Grant, B.J. Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government 2013, Local Representation in Australia: A Review of the Legislation and Literature, University of Technology, Sydney.
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Selected Peer-Assessed Projects