A study of Queensland's regional coordination councils, their formation and operations, an evaluation of the performance, and the reasons for their termination in 1977

O'Sullivan, Robert Denis (1980) A study of Queensland's regional coordination councils, their formation and operations, an evaluation of the performance, and the reasons for their termination in 1977. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University of North Queensland.

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In 1971 the Queensland Parliament passed legislation to form regional coordination councils under the administration of the Coordinator General's Department. The Government kept final executive power over the councils through the use of Orders in Council to create and terminate the councils and their regions.

When the Councils were created there were many unanswered questions and differences of opinion regarding the aims and practice of regional coordination, its relationship to planning, its compatability with different models of planning, and the administrative structures and strategies that were necessary to implement regional coordination.

Queensland's units of local government, the local authorities, were apprehensive that the regional councils would take over some of their powers and functions. The local authorities obtained exclusive and complete equal representation on the councils after the first appointment of members in September, 1973.

There was some confusion until 1974, even amongst senior politicians, whether the councils would prepare any regional or strategic plans. The weight of opinion generally seemed to be that the Coordinator General's Department would do the planning and the regional coordination councils would assist by giving advice. This approach required the councils to accept the consequential style of planning decision making which was centralised and required extensive data gathering studies. It was not the existing and accepted relationship in local planning matters between the local authorities and state departments. Neither was the Department's approach consistent with the principles of administration required to implement coordination between and within state and local government. In brief, the Department appeared to not have a strategy to make regional coordination work. The limited membership of the councils was another basic constraint not conducive to regional coordination.

The meetings of the Northern Regional Coordination Council were taken as a case study of the coordinating activities. The Council met three to four times each year between 1973 and 1977. Its members agreed that it worked well as a discussion forum for local authority matters, but they were unable to see any direct benefits for the region. There was no common objective for the Department and the Council to work on and no coordination in planning between the local authorities.

Dissatisfaction arose within the Councils in 1975 and 1976.

After June 1976 the Federal Government's Grants Commission no longer required regional organizations of local authorities.

The Coordinator General, who promoted the idea of regional coordination, retired in December 1976.

The Councils were terminated suddenly from July 1977. The Premier, as Minister in charge, introduced legislation in 1978 which repealed large pieces of the 1971 legislation including the whole of regional coordination.

Item ID: 39444
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: administration; Coordinator General's Department; local authorities; local government; Northern Regional Coordination Council (NRCC); planning; Queensland Coordinator-General; Queensland Government; regional coordination councils; state government
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 01:38
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160510 Public Policy @ 33%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160509 Public Administration @ 34%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160601 Australian Government and Politics @ 33%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940204 Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis @ 100%
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