Community expectations for the role of local government in Regional Australia

meeting the challenges of 'slow burn'

Catherine Hastings, Liana Wortley, Roberta Ryan, Bligh Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Regional Australia is confronted by specific demographic, social, economic and infrastructure challenges, which we are denoting as 'slow-burn' threats. This article interrogates a recent national survey concerned with the value of local government to Australian communities, focusing upon differences in responses for regional and remote areas compared to those from urban capital cities. Findings indicate that regional and remote residents place more importance on local government delivering services that specifically focus on the long-term development and sustainability of the community than their urban counterparts, particularly economic and community development roles. We argue that this constitutes a demonstration of the different expectations that regional and remote communities have of local government in the face of 'slow burn' in regional and remote areas. Further, we suggest that the relationship between local governments in regional Australia and the communities they serve is usefully conceived in terms of what we denote as 'the close economy' and 'the local state'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-180
Number of pages23
JournalAustralasian Journal of Regional Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • close economy
  • local government
  • local state
  • regional development
  • slow burn threats

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