The Australian experience of municipal amalgamation

asking the citizenry and exploring the implications

Roberta Ryan, Catherine Hastings, Bligh Grant, Alex Lawrie, Éidín Ní Shé, Liana Wortley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


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 here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-390
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • amalgamation
  • local democracy
  • localism
  • representation
  • service delivery

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