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The Forum > Article Comments > Establishing local leadership and strong policy > Comments

Establishing local leadership and strong policy : Comments

By Robert Gibbons, published 13/4/2011

When it comes to local government not only is bigger not necessarily better it can be malformed

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Robert Gibbons,

Your conclusion: “what will work are clarity in accountability, incentives to those who perform better and penalties to those who disappoint us and compromise the legacy we hand to our grandchildren”

It is not your forgetting your children that worries me, no. It is that throughout the article you have been talking of irrelevancies and forgot that “civilization”, of which the basic significance is “the art of living in a space called the city” has not entered into your consciousness or probably it has deserted it during your closeness with Universities and the confusion of those who meddle in such aberrant institutions.

‘The City’ is a conglomerate of citizens with varied needs and the art of living in it is that of safeguarding one’s need without impinging in any other’s need, art that depends entirely on what you ingenuously defined ‘clarity in accountability’.

The only reward for these qualities is esteem.

No one can guarantee that everyone can be honest and those who hide and tend traps to gain undue advantage deserve the deprecation of the citizens as a whole.

As a young man I had occasion of living very close to one of the few old republics of Europe that still have a considerable degree of independence; its name is San Marino.

It is an outcrop of medieval buildings scattered on a sharp pyramidal mountain with an abandoned castle on its apex where those citizens that had somehow cheated on the community were to retire after work for a period of time determined by the offended citizenry.

To day I have received a letter from the Mayor of my Council in which, after nine months of constant questioning, he offers an unsatisfactory answer on a clear case of power abuse by Council employees
Posted by skeptic, Wednesday, 13 April 2011 6:34:19 PM
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There are two problems with local government in Australia: there are too many councils with the result that ratepayers are usually voting for people of whom they've barely heard; and the opportunities for narrow barrow pushing and mateship based decisions are too great. Thus we have the stupidity of councils voting to ostracise Israel or hectoring their citizens about climate change (as if governments state and federal aren't doing too much of that already) or punishing residents for daring to own a car in inner urban areas.

The solutions are difficult but I'd suggest as a start looking at the size of local government in Britain, so that each capital city and other large cities would have only one council. I'd also suggest bringing local government planning functions more tightly into state government planning frameworks so that councils can in effect only implement state government policy (at least we'd then know who to blame) and removing or severely curtailing councils' legislative powers to reduce the possibility of really stupid by laws.
Posted by Senior Victorian, Wednesday, 13 April 2011 6:51:41 PM
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