The convergence of regional governance discourses in rural Australia: enduring challenges and constructive suggestions

Morrison, Tiffany, and Lane, Marcus (2006) The convergence of regional governance discourses in rural Australia: enduring challenges and constructive suggestions. Rural Society, 16 (3). pp. 341-357.

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Abstract

Regional governance is being embraced across rural Australia by a diverse ensemble of actors, including rural communities, private corporations, environmental activists and government agencies. The promoters of regional governance argue that utilising approaches to governance such as 'regional partnerships' improves the functionality and democracy of governance and enables 'sustainable regional development'. Closer scrutiny reveals that the regional governance ideal appeals to this diverse range of interests in contradictory ways. Concerns for environmental, social and economic sustainability intersect with concerns about economic decline, community empowerment, fragmented government, and broad-scale resource use conflicts in rural areas.

Against a backdrop of international trends in ecosystem management, new regionalism, collaborative planning and new public management, this article reviews the reasons why these diverse actors have converged on similar conceptual terrain in their search for rural sustainability. This serves to illuminate the contradictions inherent in this conceptual convergence, the challenges to achieving the regional governance ideal, and enables us to posit some constructive suggestions as to how these challenges can be overcome.

Item ID: 39967
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: rural policy, regionalism, regionalisation, governance, Australia
ISSN: 1037-1656
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2015 01:13
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160510 Public Policy @ 35%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160605 Environmental Politics @ 35%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl Planning) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940204 Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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