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Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations Act - Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations - Report - Year ended 31 August - 1984 (8th)

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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia


Eighth Annual Report

for year ending 31 August 1984

Presented 22 March 1985 Ordered to be printed 28 March 1985

Parliamentary Paper No. 96/1985

Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations Eighth Annual Report for the year ending 31 August 1984

A. B. Caudell , Government Printer, Tasmania


110 Hampden Road Battery Point Tasmania 7000

The Advisory Council submits its report for the year ending 31 August 1984 to the Prime Minister of Australia, to the Premiers of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory and to the President of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations, as

required under section 6 of the Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations Act 1976.

On behalf of the Council

(R. C. GATES, A.O.) Chairman

AClIVs first workshop, held under its Extension Program, which took place in the South Australian House of Assembly in February 1984. Presiding over the meeting, at the centre table, are, from left to right: the Hon. D.W. Simmons, DFC, Chairman of the Extension Committee; the Hon. G.J. Crafter, M.P.. South Australian Member of AC1R and Dr. C.J. Balmer, Director of the AC1R Secretariat.

Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations


Members are appointed to the Council for periods of three years. T he due dates for expiry of the terms of office of present members are included below. However, for members or observers appointed from Commonwealth, State or Territory Parliaments, the term expires either on the date shown or on the first sitting day following an election, whichever occurs first.

Members of the Commonwealth Parliament appointed on the nomination of the Prime Minister:

Mr R. J. Brown. M.P.. term expires 3 June 1986 Mrs .1. McHugh, M.P., term expires 3 June 1986 The Hon.T. Uren, M.P., Minister for Territories and Local Government and Minister assisting the Prime Minister in Community Development and Regional Affairs, term

expires 3 June 1986

Members of the Commonwealth Parliament appointed on the nomination ol the Leader ol the Opposition in the House of Representatives:

Mr R. A. Braithwaite, M.P., term expires 3 June 1986 The Hon. A. G. Cadman, M.P., term expires 10 October 1986

Members of the State Parliaments appointed on the nomination of the State Premiers: The Hon. J. M. Berinson. M.L.C. (Western Australia). Attorney-General, Minister for Budget Management and Minister for Prisons, term expires 3 June 1986 The Hon. G. J. Crafter, M.P. (South Australia). Minister of Community Welfare and

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, term expires 3 June 1986 The Hon. N. J. Harper. M.L.A. (Queensland). Minister for Justice and Attorney- General. term expires 1 March 1987 The Hon. C. R. T. Mathews, M.L.A. (Victoria). Minister for Police and Emergency

Services and Minister for the Arts, term expires 13 July 1985 The Hon. G. A. Pearsall, M.H.A. (Tasmania). Deputy Premier, Attorney-General. Minister for Tourism, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing and

Gaming, term expires 26 July 1987 The Hon. T. W. Sheahan. M.P. (New South Wales). Minister for Planning and Environment and Minister assisting the Premier on Intergovernmental Relations,

term expires 8 March 1987

Member of the Northern Territory Parliament appointed on the nomination of the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory: The Hon. P. A. E. Everingham, M.L.A., Chief Minister. Ministerfor Lands. Industrial Development and Tourism, term expires 8 March 1987

Members appointed on the nomination of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations:

Alderman C. A. Black (Northern Territory), term expires 18 July 1986 Mrs E. M. Crome (South Australia), term expires 3 June 1986 Councillor L. W. Greenwood (Victoria), term expires 3 June 1986 Councillor R. W. V. Irvin (New South Wales), term expires 3 June 1986 Councillor G. L. Kilpatrick (Western Australia), term expires 3 June 1986

Councillor Η. N. Macleod (Tasmania), term expires 3 June 1986 Alderman J. R. Webber (Queensland), term expires 3 June 1986

Members being Australian citizens appointed on the nomination of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Premiers of the participating States:

Professor R. C. Gates — Chairman, term expires 13 July 1985 Mrs P. M. Myer, term expires 22 June 1986 Mrs J. Oakley, term expires 22 June 1986 Mr T. P. Purcell, term expires 22 June 1986 The Hon. D. W. Simmons, term expires 22 June 1986


Mr J. W. Leedman, Μ. H. A. (Australian Capital Territory), term expires 5 August 1986


Dr Cohn Balmer AC1R Secretariat 110 Hampden Road Battery Point Tasmania 7000


Chapter Page

Introduction 1

I The Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations 4

Functions 4

Ongoing research program 5

Operations of the Council 6

Members and observers 7

Meetings 8

II Inquiry and Research Program 9

The Relationships reference 9

The Relationships Committee 9

Approach to the reference 9

Selection of the work program 11

Other work of the Committee 12

Papers published during 1983-84 13

Current research program 14

Future projects 16

New developments 16

III Responsibilities and Resources of Australian Local Government 19 Background 19

Major problems and their resolution 19

Underlying rationale of the Report 20

Why have local government? 20

Determining responsibilities appropriate for local government 20 Financing local government 21

Nature of local government’s legal powers 22

Constitutional recognition of local government 22

Dismissal of local governments 23

Local government administration 23

IV Extension Program 24

Extension Committee 24

Terms of reference 24

Extension activities 24

Intergovernmental Focus 25

V Council Management 26

Management Committee 26

Secretariat staff 26

Contacts with governments and other organisations 27

Local Government Ministers’ Conference 28

Contacts with international organisations 28

ACIR publications 28


Chapter Page

The ACIR library 28

Finance 29

Annexure A: Financial Statement 32

Annexure B: Audit Report 34

Appendix A: Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations Charter 35 Appendix B: ACIR publications 37

Tables 1. Functional areas on which local government expended more than $10.00 per capita in 1980-81 21

2. ACIR funding arrangements 29



Among the developments that have occurred on the Australian governmental scene during 1983-84, two have captured a considerable degree of attention. One of these has been the emphasis given by the Federal Government to achieving consensus. The other has been the introduction of changes to the operating arrangements for the public service in the

Commonwealth and at least two of the States.

The Prime Minister, the Hon. R. J. L. Hawke, A.C., M.P., in his John Curtin Memorial Lecture on 28 September 1983, took as his them e‘The Way Ahead’ — but gave considerable emphasis to the need to search for, and achieve, consensus. It has been noteworthy, moreover, that during the year not only the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues, but

also most of the Premiers and their colleagues have followed this same tactic in relations with other governments, the private sector and major interest groups.

This observation is not meant to imply that conflict and point-scoring have been absent. Far from it, as even the most casual observer of the aftermath to the Franklin Dam judgement by the High Court would have noted. Yet, even in this case, the leaders of the two governments involved agreed that negotiations for the compensation package were to be finalised in unpublicised, private discussions. Similar, ‘away from the headlines’ discussions resulted in Commonwealth legislation for the establishment of the National Crime Authority in a form acceptable to the States. A degree of resolution to the dispute between Queensland and the Commonwealth over health care funding was achieved following equally frank and detailed discussions. The Premiers’ Conference and Loan Council meetings continued this pattern of constructive negotiation

and compromise. These achievements — and many others of similar importance — demonstrate that consensus can only be developed in regard to the significant goals of governments if the

participants — whether elected parliamentarians and councillors or appointed officers —are willing to work for its achievement. This involves genuine communication: a willingness to listen, and to understand and take into account the point of view of other participants, as well as to explain one’s own position and modify it in the light of broadened awareness.

It is worth recalling the words of Edmund Barton during the Constitutional Convention of 1897 . . . Without successes gained under the influence of public opinion there cannot be a successful Federation, because Federation must depend on the goodwill of the people. You cannot make a

Federation under which people can live and prosper unless it has their goodwill . . .

... it is the people who govern these colonies, and if you are to obey at long last the forces of public opinion — because you cannot have Federation without the sanction of that guiding force — then now is the time and not hereafter to make that concession which makes Federation possible . . .

. . . now is the time for compromise . . . Consensus, to be effective, involves communication and compromise between governments (vertically and horizontally), between governments and the non-government sector, and between the elected members of governments and the public service which serves both them

and the public they represent. It is in this context that proposals to reorganise the public services take on added significance. In all spheres of government, elected representatives rely heavily on the advice of those actually responsible for keeping the ship of state underway and on a steady course,


regardless of inboard breakdowns or external turbulence. Measures to reshape the public service have taken several forms:

— staff interchanges between spheres of government; — secondments between the public and private sectors; — fixed term appointments to positions at all levels of the public service; — appointments to senior public service positions from the non-government sector;


— new opportunities for staff development.

As ACIR noted in its previous Annual Report, staff interchanges between the spheres of government have multiplied in recent years. As shown in ACIR’s publications on interchange, leavening the public service with personnel whose background is from another sphere of government or the non-government sector provides an opportunity to broaden horizons, and to recognise the possibility of other ways of managing governmental affairs.

Most important, perhaps, for longer term questions affecting intergovernmental relations, is the likelihood of changes to long-held attitudes about other spheres of government.

During recent years, tertiary education centres and Public Service Boards have conducted an increasing range of courses and workshops designed to improve the capacity of public servants to be effective administrators. Until recently, these programs have focussed on such matters as personnel management, approaches to budgetting and program planning; in other words, on how to manage better the internal affairs of government. During the past year, however, ACIR has become aware of an increasing number of attempts to heighten

awareness about how other governments — particularly the other spheres of government — manage their affairs. In part this development is but an extension into ‘comparative public administration’.

However, it also reflects something entirely new: the desire to understand how other governments approach their task. It is being realised that the way things are done and the reasons for doing them that way are as important as what is done. The significance of this new approach to staff development schemes is captured by its title: Intergovernmental


Increasingly ACIR Members and Secretariat staff are being invited to participate in, — to conduct, and — to prepare reports on programs for intergovernmental management. As an example, following release of the

Report, Responsibilities and Resources o f Australian Local Government, one local government association conducted a two-day workshop with Secretariat staff at the ACIR national headquarters for its senior executives. The focus of the workshop was ‘how do we organise ourselves so as to interact most effectively with the State and Commonwealth’.

The importance of the concern being shown for intergovernmental management takes on added significance in the light of some of ACIR’s research findings. During the past two years, it has become increasingly evident that governments desire to place less reliance on formal councils and committees as ways of improving intergovernmental co-operation. Instead, there is preference for the ad hoc, tailor-made working party, comprised of personnel with two principal kinds of skill: professional and technical knowledge of the problem area and a keen insight into the operating procedures, values and ethos of the other participating sphere or spheres of government.

Two explanations are being offered. One is that formal councils tend to bog down in their own operational minutiae, whereas working parties are concerned with the effective resolution of the task before them. The other is that the members of formal councils 2

sometimes tend to become trapped by their official positions, while members of the low- profile working party are usually selected for their ability to examine issues dispassionately and objectively without compromising their fundamental principles.

Although ACIR has completed its research on staff interchange, it is likely that its concern with intergovernmental management will increase dramatically in the months ahead. In the final analysis, the improvement of inter-government co-operation is dependent on the willingness of the people of government to seek consensus and to accept compromise in the interests of the public they serve.


Chapter I

The Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations

The Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations (ACIR) was established by Commonwealth legislation in 1976, following agreement being reached on its Charter by the Premiers’ Conference in April of that year. The Charter (which is reproduced in full as Appendix A) stated that

Successful operation of our system of Federal Government demands the fullest co-operation and co-ordination of activities of all spheres of government. . . [which] suggests that an Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations [consisting of representatives of the Federal, State and local governments and private citizens] be established to give continuing attention to inter­ governmental problems.

A more detailed account of the origins of the Council and the main provisions of the Act are set out in the Council’s First Annual Report.

Although representative of all three spheres of government, the Council is independent of individual governments. It is an advisory body only, with no executive powers. The Council has twenty-four members and one observer and is supported by a permanent Secretariat located in Hobart.

The Council is required to present a Report, within six months after 31 August each year, with respect to its activities during the previous year. The Council must furnish copies of its Annual Report, and of any other Reports made as a result of its inquiries, to the Prime Minister, the Premier of each State, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, and the President of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations (ACLGA).

Functions To give effect to its purpose of improving intergovernmental co-operation, the functions of the Council are ‘to inquire into and keep under consideration and review matters relating to inter-government co-operation’. Matters for inquiry may be referred to the Council in three ways. First, references may be given to the Council by the Premiers’ Conference. Secondly, on its own initiative the Council may seek a referral from the Premiers’ Conference. Thirdly, a majority of the participating governments may request the Council to examine an issue. The Council is required to present its recommendations on such matters to each participating government and to the ACLGA.

In the performance of its functions, the Council has found it necessary to undertake research, commission studies, call for submissions from the public, conduct seminars and public hearings, prepare information papers, discussion papers and reports, and in other ways promote the analysis and discussion of problems of intergovernmental relations. The Council has a specific role in relation to the references which it receives from the Premiers’ Conference. In carrying out this role, it conducts research into particular areas of intergovernmental concern and makes recommendations to governments on the basis of its findings. The Council also has a continuing general role in relation to information gathering, analysis of issues and the dissemination of ideas on matters affecting inter­ governmental relations. In fulfilling this role it engages in a wide range of extension activities.


The Council’s work to date has centred around two references given to it by the Premiers’ Conference in April 1977. Firstly, the Council was requested to conduct a study of the costs and benefits of an interchange of personnel between the three spheres of government and make recommendations for selected implementation of a staff exchange


This has become known as the ‘Interchange’ reference.

During the year under review, no new work was undertaken on the interchange reference. Nonetheless, in the course of research under the Relationships reference and the local government sub-reference, the importance of the degree of knowledge, understanding and empathy possessed by those associated with one sphere of government in relation to the values, goals and working conditions of the other spheres has been demonstrated on many

occasions. Improvement of intergovernmental relations continues to be dependent upon shared understandings. It matters little how these are developed: whether through staff interchange schemes, formally structured courses on intergovernmental management or workshops involving persons from all three spheres of government.

Secondly, the Council was asked to undertake an examination of the relationships which should exist between Federal, State and local governments.

This has become known as the ‘Relationships’ reference. Under this reference, on 24 January 1978, the Prime Minister, as Chairman of the Premiers’ Conference, wrote to the Chairman of the Advisory Council and suggested that the Council might concentrate

initially on the relationships which should exist between local government and the Commonwealth and State governments.

This has become known as the ‘Local Government’ sub-reference.

The work undertaken under the Relationships reference and local government sub­ reference is described in the following chapter.

Ongoing research program ACIR is required by its Act to ‘keep under consideration and review matters relating to inter-government co-operation’. In the absence of new references from the Premiers’ Conference, the Council has met this requirement by seeking topics which fall within the scope of the Relationships reference. Accordingly, when it became apparent during 1983 that resources would shortly become available to commence new research projects the Council sought from the Relationships Committee advice concerning topics meriting

investigation. (Details of the Committee’s procedures in meeting this request are described in the following chapter.) When considering the Committee’s advice, the Council gave careful thought to whether the topics suggested fell within the scope of the Relationships reference and decided that the studies recommended did conform. It was noted, however, that the Committee was still considering whether issues affecting regional economic management were intergovern­ mental in nature. The Council concluded that, if the intergovernmental issues were sufficiently salient to justify an examination of regional economic management by ACIR, then, in view of the potential significance of this study, a special reference should be sought.

From the information already available, the Council has become aware that the issues of importance awaiting its attention far exceed the resources available to it. As a consequence, the range of its investigations remains constricted and it is inhibited from experimenting

with alternative approaches to research or engaging in other activities which could contribute to improved intergovernmental co-operation.


Operations of the Council To facilitate it in undertaking its activities the Council has established four committees:

(i) Relationships Committee; (ii) Extension Committee; (iii) Management Committee; (iv) Editorial Committee.

Each of the first three is discussed in the respective chapter. A description of the last mentioned committee follows.

Editorial Committee The Editorial Committee consists of the Council Chairman, Professor R. C. Gates, the Relationships Committee Chairman, Mr T. P. Purcell, and the Director, D rC. J. Balmer. It has the task of vetting the final text and style of reports, discussion papers and other publications, just prior to their despatch to the printer.

In the last three years, this has involved the editing of five Information Paper series publications, seven Reports and Annual Reports, the Register o f Commonwealth-State Co-operative Arrangements and twelve Discussion Papers. This time-consuming task has been complicated by the physical distance separating Committee members, and by the delays that inevitably occur from time to time when a Committee member is unable to set

aside immediately the time required to edit a document thoroughly.

In the past it has not been practical for the members to meet regularly as a committee. Normally each member edits the final draft separately, and all amendments are taken into account in the Secretariat. However, in future it is envisaged that all members will meet as a ‘committee’ whenever possible.

Liaison officers Each government has nominated an officer (usually from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet at the Federal level, the Premiers’ Departments at State level and the Secretaries from the principal Local Government Associations) to act as a liaison officer, in order to facilitate communication and contact between the administration of each sphere of government and the ACIR Secretariat. Access to these officers has been invaluable when

research work is being planned and contact established with departments and other governmental organisations for the first time. Whenever appropriate, liaison officers have identified specific officers to provide information or in other ways assist the Secretariat staff. This help continues to be much appreciated.

Council finances Elsewhere in the Report it is noted that the real expenditure of the Council has declined each year since the Council became fully operational. This decline reflects the reduction in the real value of contributions each year since 1979-80. As a result the Council has not been able to maintain the scale of activities of its first year, let alone capitalise on the knowledge and experience accumulated by its members and staff. These findings led the Council’s

Committee of Review to recommend that a substantial increase in contributions should be sought. The Council accepted this recommendation and advised the Premiers’ Conference accordingly. The request for a real value increase in funding was rejected.

Independence For the Council to work effectively it must operate independently of the influence of any sphere of government and must be non-partisan in its approach to its work. While it must conduct inquiries into matters referred to it in accordance with directions given at Premiers’ Conferences, once references and directions have been given, the Council must be able to undertake those inquiries free from interference.


The Council records again that since its establishment its members have worked together in a non-partisan spirit and that there has been no interference in the conduct of its affairs. In its work throughout the past year the Council has received the active co-operation and

assistance of all spheres of government in Australia.

Members and observers The Advisory Council consists of twenty-four members, appointed by the Governor- General, and one observer. Each is appointed for a term of three years, but is eligible for reappointment. A member who has held office for a continuous period of six years is not eligible for reappointment within three years of the completion of that period. Members and

observers are drawn from each sphere of government and from the community on the following basis:

(a) five members of the Commonwealth Parliament, three being appointed on the nomination of the Prime Minister and two on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives; (b) one member from the Parliament of each of the participating States, appointed on

the nomination of the Premier of the State, and one member from the Parliament of the Northern Territory, appointed on the nomination of the Chief Minister; (c) seven members, being one from each State and the Northern Territory and not being members of Parliament, appointed on the nomination of the Australian

Council of Local Government Associations; (d) five citizen members appointed on the nomination of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Premiers of the States; and (e) one observer, being a member of the Australian Capital Territory House of

Assembly, appointed by the Assembly.

Changes o f membership A number of changes in membership occurred during the past year. The Council records its appreciation and thanks to former member the Hon. E. M. Bingham, Q.C., M.H.A. (Tasmania), who has served as Chairman of the Management Committee since his

appointment to the Council on 13 July 1982.

Other changes in membership during the year were as follows:

(i) Mr A. Cadman, M.P., was reappointed and replaced Senator the Hon. Dame Margaret Guilfoyle, D.B.E.; (ii) The Hon. N. J. Harper, M.L.A., was appointed to replace the Hon. S. S. Doumany, M.L.A.; (iii) The Hon. T. W. Sheahan, M.P., was reappointed and replaced the Hon. L. J.

Brereton, M.P.; and (iv) The Hon. G. A. Pearsall, M.H.A., was appointed to replace the Hon. E. M. Bingham, Q.C., M.H.A.

Deputies Provision is made in the Act for the appointment of deputies for parliamentary and local government members. Deputies have the full rights of the members they represent. The Council has welcomed their attendance and participation at its meetings over the past year.

Deputies who contributed to the work of the Council during the year were Mr J. M. Beattie, M.H.A. (Tasmania), Mr R. J. Carr, M.P. (New South Wales), Senator J. Coates (Commonwealth), Alderman S. J. Cole (New South Wales), Mr D. Dale, M.L.A. (Northern Territory), Warden R. Duff (Tasmania), Mr S. Hatton, M.L.A. (Northern Territory), MrT.

Harris, M.L.A. (Northern Territory), and Mr J. P. Trainer, M.P. (South Australia). 7

Meetings In 1983-84 the Council met four times. These meetings have been held as follows:

2 September 1983 in Adelaide 1 December 1983 in Hobart 6 April 1984 in Hobart 3 August 1984 at the Gold Coast The Council records its appreciation to the Adelaide City Council, the Government of Tasmania, Clarence Municipal Council and the Gold Coast City Council for their assistance in providing meeting facilities.


Chapter II

Inquiry and Research Program

The Relationships reference The Premiers’ Conference, in 1977, requested the Council to undertake an examination of the relationships which should exist between Federal, State and local governments.

In January 1978, the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. J. M. Fraser, M.P., wrote, on behalf of the Premiers’ Conference, suggesting that the Council might initially concentrate on ‘the relationships which should exist between local government and the Commonwealth and State governments’. This has become known as the local government sub-reference.

The Relationships Committee The Council decided, shortly after its establishment, that the very broad nature of this reference would necessitate a major review, over a considerable period of time, of all aspects of the Australian federal system. Accordingly the Council established a Relationships

Committee to supervise the conduct of inquiries and the preparation of reports under the Relationships reference and, subsequently, the local government sub-reference.

As at 31 August 1984, the members of this Committee were Mr T. P. Purcell (Chairman) Mr R. A. Braithwaite, M.P. Mr R. J. Brown, M.P. Professor R. C. Gates (Chairman of the Council) The Hon. N. J. Harper, M.L.A. Councillor R. W. V. Irvin The Hon. C. R. T. Mathews, M.L.A. During the past year the Hon. S. S. Doumany, M.L.A., retired from the Committee. The Council records its appreciation to Mr Doumany for his contribution to the working of the

Relationships Committee.

Meetings o f the Committee The Committee usually meets on the day preceding Council meetings, and once about midway between these meetings. During the year under review, it has met six times.

Approach to the reference Having recognised the breadth of the Relationships reference, the Committee sought to identify a framework within which to plan future research under the reference. Three distinct areas have been identified:

(a) the organisational divisions established by governments; (b) the procedures and working arrangements governments adopt for carrying out their activities; and (c) the structural features of our society which act as opportunities or constraints for

the achievement of political goals.


Each is described briefly below.

Established organisations Governments establish a wide range of organisations to assist them in achieving their goals. Two types are of particular relevance: departments (such as Treasury or Department of

Main Roads) and public authorities (such as the River Murray Commission or a Town and Country Planning Board). These provide the basic structures of government administration.

While such organisations are relatively permanent, nevertheless they may be altered from time to time. Division may be changed internally; divisions or sections may be transferred to other departments; or the activities of governments may be regrouped in new ways, especially following elections, when governments are likely to adopt administrative arrangements which differ from those of the outgoing government.

Flexible arrangements Working arrangements and procedures are adopted by governments to facilitate internal operation and intergovernmental contact and communication. Two sets of these are of particular relevance for AC1R.

One governs the division of responsibilities between departments and authorities, especially where there is both a ‘department’ and a ‘public authority’ for the same functional responsibility (such as a Ministry for Town Planning and a Town Planning Board); There may be, for example, a separation of policy making from funding and of both from day-to-day activities. There may also be differences between governments, one government, for instance, having a Department of Industry, whereas another has allocated related responsibilities to a Development Authority. Alternatively, the activities may be divided in such a way that similar responsibilities are undertaken by departments guided by quite different professional philosophies, as when responsibilities which impinge closely on family well-being are allocated to a health department by one government and to a department for community welfare by another.

The second relevant set of working arrangements concerns the particular procedures for consultation that have been established. Again these may be intragovernmental (such as cabinet subcommittees and interdepartmental officers’ committees) or intergovernmental (such as Ministerial Councils or special task forces).

Structural features o f society This area concerns those structural factors which affect government operations. The Report of the AC1R Committee of Review identified four types of factors — political, constitutional, administrative and financial — which reflect institutionalised ways of viewing governmental

operations. Three other types which influence key aspects of governmental activities should also be explicitly recognised — geographical and other physical and climatic factors (for example, Tasmania’s separation from the mainland or the uneven distribution of mineral resources among the States and the Northern Territory), factors related to personnel, and factors related to the way in which information is stored, its accessibility and ease of transmission.

Not all of these structural factors need to be taken into account in every study made by ACIR, although each has the potential to be of central importance for particular studies. For example, geographical factors have been of little concern in any of the studies completed so far. Nonetheless, they cannot be neglected in the study of major resource developments which is currently in progress.

This categorisation highlights the kinds of factors which are significant in examining intergovernmental relationships. If it is recognised, it will be less likely that key factors will be overlooked. Further, it suggests ways of focussing research on smaller, compact issue

areas, in a manner that will enable studies to complement each other in a cumulative way.


The study of services for immigrants (which was commenced during the current year) has been planned from this perspective and progress to date supports its continued use.

Selection of the work program The principal work under the Relationships reference consists of research and investigation designed to elicit an accurate understanding of the intergovernmental issues causing concern to governments. As research-in-progress nears completion, and it is probable that

resources will become available to undertake new studies, the following process, designed to identify new topics for investigation, is set in motion:

(a) suggestions are sought from all Council members of topics which may be worth following through in detail; (b) the Committee reviews preliminary surveys of the topics, prepared to a common format by the Secretariat, with a view to eliminating some of the topics and refining

the remainder; (c) revised preliminary study outlines are circulated to member governments and are discussed with senior officers of each government, together with any additional topics they may suggest; (d) the advice received from senior officers is assessed, thus eliminating topics

perceived as not warranting investigation and refining still further terms of reference for the remainder; and (e) the Committee recommends an appropriate research program to the Council.

In the year under review, these steps led the Committee to consider in a preliminary way ten topics which had been suggested to ACIR’s Committee of Review. Following discussions within the Council and between the Secretariat and governmental advisers some of these were eliminated. However, in eight areas it appeared that the problems to which attention had been drawn were likely to be affecting intergovernmental relations.

Preliminary study proposals for these topics were circulated to liaison officers to become the focus for a meeting, in each State and in the Northern Territory, between representatives of ACIR and senior officers from that government. In many cases, departmental heads or their deputies participated in these discussions, together with the Chairman of the Relationships

Committee, other ACIR members resident in that State, and the Director and Senior Project Officer from the Secretariat. ACIR records its appreciation of the liaison officers’ assistance in arranging these meetings.

In all meetings, departmental officers suggested at least one additional area where current practices were affecting intergovernmental relations and where those present considered an inquiry by ACIR would probably be advantageous. Some of these suggestions were common to most States, but some reflected the circumstances of particular States.

In the course of these discussions, it was found that it would be inappropriate at this time to inquire into some of the topics proposed. These were excluded, while others suggested by governments were included, in order to arrive at a final list of topics on which there was a

high degree of consensus among the States and the Northern Territory that inquiry by ACIR appeared to be warranted. The ACIR representatives then discussed these topics with senior officers from the Commonwealth and, separately, with the ACLGA Directorate, prior to the Relationships Committee reviewing the advice received.

This process identified five topics upon which there was a degree of agreement by governments that investigation by ACIR would be appropriate (with an additional one still being refined). In view of the resources available, the Committee recommended that investigation of two topics commence during the current year, and that the remainder be


The Council accepted this recommendation, and work has commenced on — Intergovernmental Aspects of the Provision of Services for Immigrants; and — Operating Procedures of Ministerial Councils.

The aims and objectives of these two inquiries are described later in this chapter.

Other work of the Committee In addition to assisting in the identification of the work program, the Committee has two other functions:

— to assist, from time to time, in Council activities related to the reference; and — to supervise work undertaken by the Secretariat once the work program has been approved.

Each of these additional roles is described in the following paragraphs.

Participation in relevant activities From time to time the Council is invited to participate in workshops, seminars and conferences. During the past year Professor Gates, Councillor Irvin, the Director and both Research Directors have represented the Council in such activities. On these occasions they have been able to disseminate the findings and insights of the Council on intergovernmental relations in general, as well as on the matters on which reports have already been completed.

Supervisory activities Progress on current investigations is reported by the Secretariat to each meeting of the Committee in varying forms:

(a) Progress reports, advising of contacts established, meetings held, current status of the research program in relation to its timetable, etc.

These may be accompanied by a technical information paper, summarising the principal information assembled for the study, describing objectively the key problems to be addressed, and assembling relevant factual information. Such papers are circulated to all Council members for their information and, for verification, to liaison officers and others who provided assistance to the Secretariat during the research phase. Drafting of the research report itself does not commence until after all basic information has been assembled and validated.

(b) Position papers, outlining initial findings and seeking guidance where optional paths have been identified.

These set before the Committee the likely costs and benefits of each option, to enable the Committee to make an informed decision, which then becomes an instruction to the Secretariat. Should major revision of the direction of a study seem warranted, this is drawn to the attention of the whole Council, which then makes a decision.

(c) Completed research papers, submitted to the Committee for detailed review and comment on the overall coverage of the paper and the specific issues discussed.

Once the Committee is satisfied that research papers have been developed fully, they are then presented to the Council for discussion, review, and approval to submit to the Editorial Committee.

All Council members receive copies of all papers considered by the Relationships Committee, as well as progress reports from it. This affords the Council members regular opportunity to satisfy themselves of the direction being taken by the research program and progress being made.


Papers published during 1983-84 The following publications were released during the year under review.

Report 7: Responsibilities and Resources o f Australian Local Government. The main findings and recommendations of this report are described in the following chapter. Discussion Paper 13: Local Government Boundary Reorganisation.

Discussion Paper 14: Australian Housing Policy and Intergovernmental Relations.

Discussion Paper 15: Intergovernmental Aspects o f Major Resource Projects and their Infrastructure.

Information Paper 10: Register o f Commonwealth-State Co-operative Arrangements, 2nd edition.

Report 7 and Discussion Paper 14 were accompanied by Summaries. As noted in Chapter IV, all except Information Paper 10 were accompanied by an issue of Intergovernmental Focus.

The contents of each of these Discussion and Information Papers are described briefly in the paragraphs that follow.

Discussion Paper 13: Local Government Boundary Reorganisation This Discussion Paper provides a detailed examination of the variety of mechanisms used by State governments to facilitate change to the territorial structure of local government. It also evaluates the criteria upon which the States believe that boundaries should be based.

In general, State governments would like to increase the size of local government units to make them more efficient, while local government maintains that it is more than just an institution designed to carry out a range of property services as efficiently as possible. In examining these alternative perspectives, the paper discusses the relationship of size to both efficiency and local democracy, and finds that the links are not as direct as is commonly


The current impasse between State and local governments on reorganisation is detrimental to the long-term future growth and development of local government. In an effort to change this scenario the paper brings together the different viewpoints on local government and canvasses alternative approaches to re-organisation from those used previously.

Discussion Paper 14: Australian Housing Policy and Intergovernmental Relations The Housing Study is the fourth in the Council’s series of examinations of inter­ governmental relations in different functional areas. Work on the project has been assembled into a Discussion Paper.

This Paper includes analysis of the framework of the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreements, of the role of local government in providing housing and in administering planning and building controls, and of the roles of the Commonwealth and State

governments in promoting access to housing through the private sector. The Council has restricted its investigations to the intergovernmental implications of the housing policies and programs of the various spheres of government and is not directly concerned with housing policy issues per se.

Discussion Paper 15: Intergovernmental Aspects o f Major Resource Projects and their Infrastructure AC1 R’s decision to examine the intergovernmental aspects of major resource projects and their infrastructure arose out of an awareness of the need for more effective management in


the resource area, since the industry makes substantial demands on the public sector. The resulting major Discussion Paper was published in August 1984.

The study focussed on — the identification and analysis of areas of conflict between governments; and — the development of alternative measures to promote increased co-operation and co-ordination.

These broad issues were examined in the context of the intergovernmental aspects of — approvals and planning procedures for resource development; — provision of infrastructure; and - taxation and other forms of government revenue raising from resource development


The role of local government, the impact of other matters affecting or affected by major resource projects, and other problems have been considered as they arose in the context of the examination of the three central areas outlined.

To address the problems identified, the Discussion Paper canvassed five options for change:

— incremental improvements to existing intergovernmental processes; — an intergovernmental mineral resources authority; — a number of intergovernmental mineral product authorities; — intergovernmental project task forces; and

— a State-based approach.

A workshop will be held to discuss the merits of these options. It is anticipated that participants will come from all areas of Australia, and will be representative of the three spheres of government, and of industry, academic research institutes and the trade union movement.

Information Paper 10: Register o f Commonwealth-State Co-operative Arrangements, 2nd edition In 1982 ACIR produced its Register o f Commonwealth-State Co-operative Arrangements, which detailed some 200 councils, committees and meetings, both formal and informal, where representatives of Commonwealth and State governments come together to discuss matters of intergovernmental concern. In order for this publication to remain a useful reference, it has been necessary to issue a completely revised edition of the Register in 1984. Some eleven entries were deleted, a further twenty-six added and considerable corrections were made to the majority of the entries. Additional amendments are now being issued to all holders of the Register at three-monthly intervals.

The production of the Register is in itself a co-operative arrangement. While the Secretariat monitors the changing intergovernmental scene as far as possible, it also relies on feedback from the bodies listed in the Register to alert it to changes that occur. This process of involvement and communication helps highlight the intergovernmental dimensions of the federation.

Current research program Report: Consultation Networks and Co-ordination Arrangements fo r Local Government The research for this Report was suspended during 1983 because of staff changes within ACIR. Research has resumed since the beginning of May 1984. It is envisaged the study will be completed by mid 1985.


The aims of the project are to produce a report to governments discussing the present arrangements for consultation, co-operation and co-ordination involving local government, and to evaluate these arrangements in terms of their effects on intergovernmental relationships.

Four objectives are seen as necessary to achieve these aims:

(a) to describe the existing mechanisms that link local government to the departments and public authorities of the State and, where appropriate, of the Commonwealth; (b) to describe briefly the problems that occur in policy formulation, program development and project implementation as a result of these mechanisms, as

perceived by both local government and the other departments and agencies involved; (c) to present alternative strategies for overcoming these problems; and (d) to recommend the type of arrangements which appears most likely to foster positive and productive intergovernmental relations, using as a basis the current arrange­ ments in each State and the Northern Territory.

Report: A Review o f Intergovernmental Dimensions in the Provision o f Services fo r Immigrants AC1R commenced this study in April 1984. Its aim is to review the roles and contributions of the three spheres of government in the provision of services for immigrants.

Five objectives were recognised as being necessary to achieve this:

(a) identification of the intergovernmental dimensions of the range of services and programs for immigrants and description of the existing consultative and co­ ordinating mechanisms between the three spheres of government; (b) compilation of an estimation of the costs (capital and current) of services and

programs specifically for immigrants at the State and local government levels, in relation to the economic and social benefits flowing from immigration; (c) analysis of the effect on State and local government budgets and services of the provision of post-arrival immigrant services and programs; (d) examination of the demography of the changing trend of overseas immigration and

indication of those local government areas more likely to be affected; (e) examination of the inter- and intra-State extent of the geographical mobility of immigrants and projection of the implications for State and local government services.

Existing information sources and data bases will be complemented by a questionnaire survey to isolate the key areas of concern to government (Commonwealth, State, Territory and local). A number of community case studies will be carried out in selected local government areas (urban and non-urban) and the resulting data collated to ascertain the impact of immigrants

on community services and resources. To provide a balanced study, the impact of internal migration will be reviewed as well as the immediate effects of the arrival of immigrants.

The preliminary findings of the study will be presented in technical information papers which will be synthesised into a report to governments.


Future projects

A comparative study o f the operational procedures o f Ministerial Councils At its April 1984 meeting Council approved a comparative study of the operational procedures of Ministerial Councils.

The study will be primarily descriptive in its orientation and will involve a comparison of the operational procedures and processes for intergovernmental consultation and co-ordination through an examination of selected Ministerial Councils.

The need for a review o f ‘machinery for intergovernmental consultation and co-operation, and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of the three spheres of government’ is a key element in the Relationships reference as outlined in ACIR’s First Annual Report. AC1R has already completed a study of the Loan Council. Arrangements for Premiers’ Conferences are at present the subject of review by Commonwealth and State

officials. A study of Ministerial Councils and other less formal arrangements is seen by ACIR as complementing these activities.

Digest o f intergovernmental events In recent years the Council has, in its Annual Report, published a lengthy survey of major intergovernmental events occurring during the year. Comments received concerning these surveys, and the demand by organisations that they be available more widely and more frequently, have led the Council to decide to produce them as a separate publication. The first issue will cover the period September 1983 to August 1984. Henceforth, it is expected that they will be published thrice yearly.

New developments During the year, the Council has been approached on several occasions by governments and departments with requests for it to undertake studies into particular areas of concern, or to prepare special submissions to inquiries. Some of these requests were as follows.

(a) When discussing possible topics for inquiry to be commenced in 1984, several governments raised issues relating to both economic management and problems arising from regional growth or decline. Closer analysis led the Secretariat to advise the Council that these issues were interconnected. At the close of the reporting period, the Secretariat was still clarifying the nature of the intergovernmental issues

involved with a view to providing appropriate advice to the Council.

(b) It was suggested, on the basis of its extensive research and knowledge relating to local government, that the Council should make a submission to the Common­ wealth’s inquiry into local government finance.

(c) The Council was invited to participate, along with other members and observers at the Local Government Ministers’ Conference, in three of the five task forces established by the Conference at its meeting held in April 1984.

(d) A request was made for collaboration with the three spheres of government in establishing an information system - to facilitate data storage, transmission and usage by electronic means; and, - in so doing, to demonstrate the feasibility of minimising duplication and

overlap in the development and operation of such arrangements.

It is likely also that, when appropriate, the Council will sponsor national conferences and workshops, as less costly and less time-consuming methods of assembling informed views on topics of concern to it.


The Council, in expressing a willingness to consider these extensions to its methods of operation, has been careful to establish guidelines to ensure that its independence is maintained, that it is not diverted from in-depth investigations when these are appropriate, and that its contribution is oriented to the improvement of intergovernmental co-operation in accordance with s.4( 1) of the Advisory Councilfor Inter-government Relations Act 1976.


Local government, which prides itself on being the sphere of government ‘closest to the people’ has, for more than a century, symbolised this by its centrally located, easily identified public buildings: (above) the Town Hall in the City of Launceston, Tasmania, (below) the offices of the Municipality of Clarence, Tasmania.


Chapter III

Responsibilities and Resources of Australian Local Government

Background In response to a suggestion from the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. J. M. Fraser, M.P., on behalf of the Premiers’ Conference, that . . . one aspect [of the broad Relationships reference] on which the Council might perhaps

concentrate initially is the relationships that should exist between local government and the Commonwealth and State governments ACIR has prepared a Report which was published as Report 7: Responsibilities and Resources o f Australian Local Government This Report focusses on

— changes affecting responsibilities delegated to local government; — changes to financial arrangements; — local government’s legal powers and related administrative procedures; — matters affecting elected members and appointed staff of local governments; and the impact these factors have on intergovernmental relations.

Special reference is made to the different approaches to the provision of services and functions by local and central government.

Major problems and their resolution The major problems identified by ACIR include — uncertainty within local government about the level of available funding which occurs when other governments phase out or substantially reduce grants with little

warning, or withdraw money-raising activities while at the same time imposing new tasks without increasing revenues; — a cautious and conservative approach by local government to undertaking responsibilities, as a result of its enabling legislation being framed in narrow specific

terms rather than more broadly; — costly and frustrating delays which arise from the multiplicity of approvals that local government must obtain from a number of different State government

departments and authorities before it can undertake many of its responsibilities; — friction arising from administrative arrangements that are unduly complex or were sometimes developed to suit conditions that no longer exist; and — significant variations in the ability of local governments in each State to provide

services effectively, resulting in State government reluctance to widen the respon­ sibilities of local government generally, which hobbles those councils which do operate effectively. In addressing these problems, ACIR has suggested that governments adopt two strategies. The first involves the State governments doing some tidying up to remove the minor


irritants, while local government itself introduces changes aimed at strengthening its capacity to provide services at an acceptable standard.

The second involves a detailed review to determine, in relation to long-term funding provisions, the responsibilities that are most suitable for delegation to local government. Simultaneously, the Local Government Act in each State should be rewritten so as to provide local government with a general competence power.

Underlying rationale of the Report As a result of its research, the Advisory Council concluded that, as a long-term goal, local government should be permitted to act more independently of State government supervision and control than is now the case, and possibly with responsibility for a wider range of functions and services than at present. Nevertheless, ACIR also recognises that local government will continue to be a subordinate sphere of government and that, in some areas, the State government will continue to expect it to adopt policies which complement those of the State.

Why have local government? ACIR has found that local government is expected to be — an informed and responsible decision maker in the interests of developing the community and its resources;

— a responsive and effective provider and co-ordinator of public services at the local level; — a catalyst for and resourceful initiator and co-ordinator of local effort; and — a representative for the local community to other governments and the wider


ACIR also concluded that although there is much in common about local government throughout Australia, nonetheless there are significant differences from one State to another. These embrace — the functions undertaken by local government;

— administrative procedures to be followed by local government when, for example, it wishes to raise loans, make by-laws, gain approval to undertake activity within its powers or authorise activity under its jurisdiction; the financial basis of local government and the manner in which specific purpose grants from the State government are made; — aspects of procedures for local government elections; and — the context within which local government operates, which is provided by each

State’s Constitution, departmental and administrative structure, history and tradition, and the philosophy and attitudes of its government towards local government.

The pervasiveness of these differences strengthened ACIR’s preference for retaining diversity in the arrangements for local government, rather than seeking Australia-wide uniformity.

Determining responsibilities appropriate for local government From its investigation, ACIR has concluded that a responsibility could be allocated to local government when — services should be tailored to the requirements of each local area if benefits are to be



— the local government can finance it; and — decisions affecting the responsibility relate principally to a limited geographical area.

However, ACIR has not identified the particular responsibilities that should be delegated to local government. Instead, within the context of its general framework, it has discussed the degree of responsibility local government should have in each functional area and recommended a review of local government responsibilities by State and local governments and, when appropriate, the Commonwealth.

Financing local government ACIR believes that the financial resources of governments should be shared so that each government can perform its responsibilities as adequately as the total sum of public funds

will allow. For this to be possible the measures for providing revenue need to be designed in such a way as to ensure predictability of financial resources under changing economic conditions.

ACIR believes that it is unlikely that there will be any significant change from the four principal sources of funds currently available to Australian local government: taxes which it levies, revenue sharing, block and specific purpose grants, and borrowings. Local government could, however, make more use of payments for service than it now does and should have power to levy rates on a differential basis and to charge business licence fees.

ACIR recommended a review in each State by an intergovernmental committee of representatives from State and local government and, where appropriate, the Common­ wealth. The role of the committee would be to advise the State of the responsibilities suitable for provision by local government and of ways of ensuring that its financial resources are

placed on an adequate and equitable basis for the effective delivery of those services. In addition, some of the suggested tidying up measures are designed to ensure that local government becomes more accountable to its electors. When these conditions are met to the satisfaction of its electors and the State governments,

(a) local government should fully fund from its own sources (which include revenue sharing funds) those responsibilities of a local nature for which it is wholly responsible;

Table 1. Functional areas on which local government expended more than $10.00 per capita in 1980-81

Function N.S. W. Vic. Qld S.A. W.A. Tas. N.T. Aust.

Roads X X X X X X X X

General public services X X X X X X X X

Electricity & Gas X X

Recreation & Culture X X X X X X

Sewerage & drainage X X X X

Water supply X X

Environmental protection X X X

Social welfare Other purposes


(b) if responsibilities already being performed by another sphere of government are transferred to local government, then the funds necessary to provide them should also be transferred; (c) if local government is asked to provide functions or services on behalf of another

sphere of government, that sphere should meet all costs associated with these functions or services, subject to safeguards to ensure that they are provided in a cost-effective manner; and (d) projects funded by specific purpose and block grants should be defined in terms of

the goals to be achieved, rather than in terms of the details of the service to be delivered.

ACIR concluded that local government will continue to be dependent upon grants from other governments, in which case a large proportion of these should be in the form of untied general revenue sharing from both the Commonwealth and the State.

As is made clear in the Report, ACIR assumes that, in part, such general revenue assistance would replace some funds currently provided as specific purpose grants (with those functions continuing to be provided by local government). The Report also makes clear that ACIR recognises that the States may not be able to implement this recommendation while the present economic conditions prevail.

Local governments often have difficulty in arranging loans, largely because individually most are small, and because the procedures designed to encourage financial institutions to lend to the public sector are ineffective in relation to local government. The Report notes that there may therefore be merit in local government in each State establishing a central

borrowing agency.

The Report also notes that the administrative arrangements associated with local government borrowing are often complex and restrictive. With the intention of improving intergovernmental relations, ACIR has recommended that State governments’ administra­ tive procedures for local government borrowing should be negotiated with local government, with a view to their simplification.

Nature of local government’s legal powers After examining the difficulties that arise from the present ultra vires method of empowering local governments, ACIR concluded that the States should legislate to provide local governments with a general competence power to make by-laws, carry out works, provide services and spend monies in the administration of their councils. In legislating to give effect to this recommendation, it is suggested that the States should incorporate power to tax and to spend in terms whose breadth is comparable with that of the general competence power


ACIR suggested that, so far as possible, the standards and other requirements to ensure public health, environmental protection etc., should be clearly spelled out so that local government can itself be given responsibility for monitoring and upholding them. However, ACIR acknowledges that there will continue to be occasions when direct supervision of local government by the State will be required. The recommendations attempt to systematise the

occasions for supervision and the arrangements that should be established for it, thus promoting certainty from one situation to another and simplifying administrative arrangements.

Constitutional recognition of local government ACIR believes that constitutional recognition of local government would show good faith in local government and give recognition to the way in which its role has increased in


importance in recent years. Accordingly, it recommends that those States which have not yet granted constitutional recognition to their systems of local government should do so.

Dismissal of local governments ACIR also believes that, if the safeguards it suggests are implemented, there should rarely be any need to dismiss a local council. Nevertheless, it is prudent to provide for such a contingency. ACIR recommends that, in the case of complaint against a council, a Board of

Inquiry should be established to investigate the allegations and its report should be debated in parliament prior to action being taken.

Also, the dismissal of a local government should occur only after the passing of either an Act of Parliament or an Order of the Governor-in-Council which (a) establishes the grounds for dismissal; (b) provides for new elections for the local government as soon as is reasonably

practicable; and (c) provides for the appointment of a Commission to conduct the affairs of the local government until new elections have been held.

Local government administration Councils should have the power to delegate administrative matters to senior officers, in order to reduce delays in the decision-making process and lessen the amount of administrative detail considered by each meeting of council. This would allow for more discussion of policy issues. Those who favour delegation argue that the rights of the elected

council are protected by — the discretion as to whether to delegate at all; — the power to withdraw any delegation; and — the power to review and amend the policies and guidelines under which the

delegation operates.

ACIR recommends the reimbursement of local government councillors for expenses they incur while representing local governments. The amounts payable should be adjusted on a regular basis by a tribunal similar to those charged with reviewing parliamentary salaries and

allowances. It is recommended that the major local government association in each State should develop an effective research advisory division capable of providing advice to individual local governments concerning their major responsibilities. The Report also recommends that the principal local government associations should establish a management consultancy service to provide managerial advice to local councils on a ‘fee for service’ basis.

The Report notes that, although most local governments now have adequately qualified staff, not all do and often there are too few in any case. This restricts the opportunity for staff to specialise and also means that it is difficult to free key personnel to attend appropriate educational courses. The Report therefore recommends establishment of a pool of appropriately qualified persons who could be drawn on by councils when their own officers are granted study leave.


Chapter IV

Extension Program

Extension Committee As stated in ACIR’s Seventh Annual Report, the Committee which reviewed ACIR’s activities at the end of 1982 recommended that the Council should seek more publicity and visibility and should be more active in following up the Council’s research findings and encouraging the implementation of its recommendations.

In acting upon these recommendations, the Council decided to establish an additional committee, to be known as the Extension Committee.

At 31 August 1984 the members of this Committee were:

The Hon. D. W. Simmons (Chairman) Alderman C. A. Black Mr J. W. Leedman Councillor Η. N. Macleod Mrs P. M. Myer Mrs J. Oakley Alderman J. R. Webber

Terms of reference In establishing the Committee, the Council gave it the following terms of reference:

(a) as its principal function, to advise governments about, and encourage the implementation of, recommendations contained in the Council’s Reports on references; (b) to monitor and report to Council on the implementation of the Council’s

recommendations; (c) to disseminate the Council’s research findings among parliamentarians, aldermen and councillors, officials, and relevant professional and academic groups, with a view to ensuring feedback and comment upon those research findings; (d) when funds permit, to oversee the publication of a periodical as a means of

promoting a wider understanding of, and interest in, intergovernmental matters, and of disseminating the results of ACIR research and reports to appropriate target audiences; (e) to take such measures as will strengthen existing contacts with national and international bodies whose interests are similar to those of ACIR and will extend these contacts to other similar bodies; and (0 to initiate from time to time national and international symposia focussed on intergovernmental relations.

Extension activities During the year, the Committee has held five workshops in the following cities: Adelaide, Gold Coast, Hobart, Perth and Wollongong. Each workshop discussed ACIR’s Report 6, The Provision o f Services fo r the Aged. In addition, at each workshop there was a brief


discussion about the origins, composition, financing and role of the Advisory Council itself. Attendance at the workshops was representative of government departments with respon­ sibilities for the elderly, local government and community groups. After each workshop, the discussion has been published as Proceedings. These have been distributed to all participants.

The Advisory Council expresses its gratitude to the persons and organisations who have assisted it in holding these extension activities. These include the Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly; the Community Services Training Centre, Mt Hawthorn, Western Australia; the Wollongong City Council; the Tasmanian Government; and the

Gold Coast City Council.

The Committee also requested that Report 7, Responsibilities and Resources o f Australian Local Government, should be formally launched. This event was organised on ACIR’s behalf in the New South Wales State Office Block by the New South Wales Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Kevin Stewart, and his staff. ACIR gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Mr Stewart and his staff in arranging and hosting this function, and of the

New South Wales Government in making facilities available.

As well as Mr Stewart, the Hon. Tom Uren, Commonwealth Minister for Territories and Local Government, and Councillor J. D. McKay, President of the New South Wales Shires Association (representing Councillor R. Ward, President of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations), participated in the formal proceedings, which were chaired by Councillor R. W. V. Irvin, representing ACIR’s Chairman, Professor R. C. Gates.

Intergovernmental Focus Following a suggestion from the Extension Committee, the Council initiated a new publication series which it entitled Intergovernmental Focus. Each issue is devoted to summarising AC I R’s conclusions on a particular topic which has been the subject of inquiry. The issues released during the present year related to

— Provision of Services for the Aged; — Responsibilities and Resources of Australian Local Government; — Australian Housing Policy and Intergovernmental Relations; and — Local Government Boundary Reorganisation.


Chapter V

Council Management

Management Committee A Management Committee has responsibility for advising the Director and the Council on matters relating to management, staff, finance and accommodation, and for acting for the Council on the basis of delegated authority.

The Council agreed at its meeting in April 1984 to expand the membership of the Management Committee from four to six by including as ex officio members the Chairmen of the Relationships and Extension Committees. The present members of the Management Committee are:

The Hon. G. A. Pearsall, M.H.A. (Chairman) Professor R. C. Gates (Chairman of the Council) Mrs E. M. Crome Mrs J. McHugh, M.P. Mr T. P. Purcell (Chairman of the Relationships Committee) The Hon. D. W. Simmons (Chairman of the Extension Committee) During the year the Hon. E. M. Bingham, Q.C., M.H.A., former Chairman of the Management Committee, resigned from the Tasmanian Government, thereby forfeiting his eligibility for membership of the Council. The Council is most appreciative of Mr Bingham’s Chairmanship of the Management Committee and extends its sincere thanks for his contribution to the work of the Council.

Secretariat staff The ACIR National Secretariat, based in Hobart, is responsible for organising research studies and discussions, maintaining links with the three spheres of government, assisting in the preparation of the Council’s reports and other publications, monitoring intergovern­

mental developments, and generally promoting awareness of the work of the Council and the need to improve co-operation between governments. The Secretariat currently comprises the following staff:

Director (Dr Colin Balmer) Two Research Directors (Mr Peter Waterman and Mr Peter Bloomfield) Two Projects Officers (Mr Gerry Holmes and Mr Peter Osborne) Librarian/ Projects Officer (Mrs Dorothy Shea)

Assistant Research Officer (Mr Kim Iliev) Administrative Officer (Mr Andrew Smith) Secretary (Mrs Linda Clough) Word Processor Typists (Mrs Deborah Sproule and Mrs Teresa Coad) Clerical Assistant (Miss Mandy Paul) When necessary, additional staff are engaged on a part-time basis to provide assistance in the preparation of ACIR documents for publication. In this respect, the Council is very appreciative of the assistance provided by Mrs Alison Jones (Editorial), and by Mrs

Larraine Hickey and Mrs Nikki Pullen (Word Processor Typists).


During the year Mr Richard Bingham, Mr Keith Simpson and Mr John Howard (Project Officers), Mrs Nancy Harding (Secretary) and Mrs Pam Bleathman (Clerical Assistant) left the Secretariat. Mr John Jameson (Research Director), recently on secondment to the Victorian Department of Minerals and Energy, resigned to take up appointment as the

Director of Administration, Department of Health Services, Tasmania. The Council records its appreciation of the contribution each made to ACIR’s program. Mrs Linda Clough (Secretary), Mr Gerry Holmes (Project Officer), Mr Kim lliev (Assistant Research Officer), Miss Mandy Paul (Clerical Assistant) and Mr Peter Waterman (Research Director) joined the Secretariat.

The Advisory Council believes that, wherever possible, its own Secretariat should undertake research projects on behalf of the Council, but recognises that there will be a continuing need for the use of consultants whose research briefs would be prepared and their research overseen by the Secretariat. In line with these views, and the diversified nature of the research

requirements of the Council, the professional staff of the Secretariat includes persons with expertise in a range of fields including education, geography, law, political science, public administration, social and environmental planning, sociology, and social science biblio­ graphic research.

As mentioned in previous Annual Reports, in 1981, 1982 and 1983 the Commonwealth Government provided substantial assistance to the Council by making available, on a full-time basis in Hobart for twelve months, an officer from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. In recognition of the benefits both to the Commonwealth and to

ACIR of such an arrangement, the Commonwealth has this year extended Mr Peter Bloomfield’s attachment to the Secretariat. Mr Bloomfield is engaged as a Research Director to co-ordinate research on the intergovernmental aspects of major resource projects and their infrastructure. In addition, the Commonwealth Department of

Employment and Industrial Relations seconded to ACIR for a nine-month period Mrs Noelene Evans from its Tasmanian Regional Office. Mrs Evans was engaged as a Projects Officer on research associated with the same project. The Council wishes to express its

appreciation to the Commonwealth Government for its continuing support.

Contacts with governments and other organisations As an essential aspect of the research and support role of the Secretariat, the staff continue to maintain contact with appropriate Commonwealth and State departments and with public authorities, local government associations, individual local governments, relevant profes­ sional bodies and research organisations.

Special mention is made of the invaluable assistance provided to the ACIR Secretariat by the officers designated by governments to liaise with the Secretariat (see Chapter 1). During the year, liaison officers and Secretariat staff participated in a a one-day seminar at the ACIR Secretariat, to introduce the liaison officers as a group to each other and to the staff, to create a greater awareness amongst the liaison officers of ACIR’s role, and to discuss the interactions that should exist between the liaison officers, the ACIR Secretariat and the members of the Council. The Council values the arrangement between ACIR and the Director of the Australian

National University’s Centre for Research on Federal Financial Relations, Professor Russell Mathews, whereby Research Fellows working at the Centre are encouraged to visit Hobart for seminars and discussions with the Secretariat on topics relevant both to their and ACIR’s work.

Visiting Research Fellows in the past year were: — Professor J. A. Johnson, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and — Dr D. Elkin, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Seminars conducted by the Fellows were attended by ACIR Council Members and staff, officials from the three spheres of government, and interested academics.

In addition, ACIR has received visits from other academics and government representatives working in areas relevant to its interests. The Secretariat is able to offer the use of library and office facilities to visiting scholars, and staff members of several Australian and overseas universities have availed themselves of these during the year.

The Secretariat also maintains contact with the Australian Centre for Local Government Studies at the Canberra College of Advanced Education. From time to time ACIR staff contribute to the programs provided by the Centre.

During the year, participants in the Management and Finance Course conducted by the International Training Institute, as part of Australia’s assistance for developing countries, visited the Secretariat. Countries represented by the participants included Bhutan, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu and Western Samoa.

Local Government Ministers’ Conference The Advisory Council has, for the past three years, been granted observer status at this Conference. The Director of the Secretariat is a participant in the Joint Officers’Committee which services the Conference. At the 1984 Conference, the Chairman and the Director were invited to address the Conference on those aspects of ACIR’s program relating to local government. The Council expresses its appreciation to the Conference for the opportunity to participate in its activities and contribute to its program.

Contacts with international organisations Contact is maintained with the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Washington D.C., the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, Ontario, Canada, and other national and international organisations whose activities contribute to improvements in

relations between governments within federal systems.

During the year, the Director renewed first-hand contacts between the Council and relevant parliamentarians, local government councillors and officers from both the national and local government sectors in New Zealand. The Council acknowledges with appreciation the value for its inquiries of the information gained as a result of the opportunity given the

Director to meet and discuss issues with New Zealand officials.

ACIR publications During the year ACIR issued two reports: its Seventh Annual Report and Report 7, Responsibilities and Resources o f Australian Local Government. T o date ACIR has relied on the Australian Government Publishing Service (AG PS) for the production of its Reports and Information Papers. That arrangement has, in recent years, made it more difficult for ACIR to co-ordinate the various steps required in producing its publications and, in the current year, resulted in both reports taking some eight months for completion from the date

of submitting the original copy to AGPS. This undue delay has embarrassed the Council to such an extent that it has directed the Secretariat to contract direct with printers for future publications rather than negotiate through AGPS.

The ACIR library Because of its unique orientation, ACIR has an excellent opportunity to develop its library into a specialised resource centre which can provide information on intergovernmental relations. Now in its seventh year of operation, the library is developing steadily towards this goal.


The collection currently consists of approximately one thousand monographs, ninety journal titles, and various reports, pamphlets and government publications covering the fields of politics, government, public administration, finance, urban planning, social

welfare, federalism and intergovernmental relations, both in Australia and overseas.

A comprehensive collection of Commonwealth and State legislation and statistical material is maintained, as well as a newspaper clipping file on matters relating to intergovernmental relations. The library receives annual reports and other materials from State and Federal departments, authorities, commissions and associations whose interests are related to those of the Council.

For the purpose of exchanging information and publications, contact is maintained with organisations concerned with federalism and intergovernmental relations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, and with appropriate international organisations such as OECD.

Increasingly, the Council’s library will be able to provide information on the existence, availability and location of material on intergovernmental relations in Australia and overseas, even though it will not always be able to provide the material itself.

The library is extremely appreciative of the help it receives from government department, parliamentary, State and university libraries, through donations and inter-library loans. In an effort to contribute to, as well as to benefit from, this information network, the ACIR Library Bulletin has been circulated to interested libraries and individuals from the beginning of 1983. As a result the library has received and processed a considerable number of requests for information relating to its specialised subject fields.

Finance The Advisory Council is funded by participating governments on the following basis:

Commonwealth Government 45 per cent

State governments (shared on a formula basis) 45 per cent

Australian Council of Local Government Associations 10 per cent

The following Table shows the levels of contributions and expenditure, expressed in current and constant values, for the past years:

Table 2. ACIR funding arrangements ($)

Current prices 1979-80 constant prices (a)

Year Contributions Expenditure Contributions Expenditure

1977-78 300 000 179 600 348 837 208 837

1978-79 300 000 422000 327 869 461202

1979-80 375 000 411 500 375 000 411 500

1980-81 412500 442 600 367 320 394 123

1981-82 412500 449 700 324 548 353816

1982-83 482 625 480 600 345 720 344 269

1983-84 527 009 535 700 356810 362695

Note: (a) Deflated by movements in the Implicit Price Index for Government Final Consumption Expenditure.

It is readily apparent that real expenditure has declined almost continuously since 1978-79, the year in which the Secretariat was established in Hobart and the Australia-wide hearings on local government were held. The Council is deeply concerned at the continuing fall in its real level of contributions. The progressive loss of expendable income is making it


increasingly difficult for the Council to meet adequately the terms of its Charter. The Council is mindful of the important role it has to play in the federal sphere and it will continue to press Governments to raise their levels of contributions to those commensurate with such an important national body.

A financial statement and audit certificate for the year ending 31 August 1984 are appended to this Report as Annexures A and B respectively.



Annexure A

Financial Statement


Balance brought forward from 1982/83




Contributions received from Commonwealth Government New South Wales Government

Victorian Government Queensland Government South Australian Government Western Australian Government Tasmanian Government Northern Territory Government Australian Council of Local Government Associations Bank Interest received Other receipts

TOTAL RECEIPTS Balance overdrawn carried forward to 1984-85


237144 61 050 51591 36 974 30 095 29 236 23217

5 000 52 702

2 660 636

530 306 5 366

535 672



Salaries and payments in the nature of salaries 306892

Travelling allowance 29 924

Car hire 5 454

Fares 60009

Stationery and office requisites 13587

Printing 15589

Library books and subscriptions 8 826

Office equipment 51 712

Telephone and postage charges 21 650

Accommodation expenses 15781

Professional and consulting services 1078

Hire and conference facilities 977

Advertising 1 151

Miscellaneous expenditure 3 042

535 672


Director Chairman


Annexure B

Audit Report

In compliance with Section 16K of the Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations Act 1976, the Council has submitted for my report its Statement of Receipts and Payments for the year ended 31 August 1984. A copy of the Statement which is in the form required by Section 16M(1) of the Act is attached.

In terms of Section 16K(5) of the Act, I report that the Statement is in agreement with the accounts and records of the Council and in my opinion:

(a) the Statement is based on proper accounts and records, and (b) the receipt and expenditure of money and the acquisition and disposal of assets by the Council during the year have been in accordance with the Act.

Audit Department Hobart 17 January 1985

(D.E. Kirby) A uditor- Genera!


Appendix A

Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations Charter

Declaration of Purpose Section 1. Successful operation of our system of Federal Government demands the fullest co-operation and co-ordination of activities between all spheres of government. An increasingly complex society in future years suggests that an Advisory Council for Inter­ government Relations be established to give continuing attention to intergovernmental


It is intended that the Advisory Council, in the performance of its duties, will bring together representatives of the Federal, State and local governments and private citizens for the consideration of common problems. Premiers’ Conference will refer to the Council subjects for advice. Local government authorities, through their State organisations, will be able to submit matters to their

respective Premiers, for consideration by the Premiers’ Conference for reference to the Council. It would also be open to the Council itself to request that matters be referred to it for advice.

Duties of the Council Section 2. It shall be the duty of the Advisory Council: (1) to engage in such activities and to make such studies and investigations as are necessary or desirable in the accomplishment of the purposes set forth in section 1 of

this charter; (2) to consider ways and means of fostering better relations between the spheres of government; and (3) to submit reports on matters referred to the Council to the Prime Minister and the

premiers for tabling in Parliament; and to submit an annual report on or before 3 1 August each year to the Prime M inister and the Premiers for tabling in Parliament.

Legal Basis The Council is to be established by a memorandum of agreement between the Prime Minister and the Premiers at the Premiers’ Conference. The Commonwealth alone will introduce any necessary legislation.

Composition of the Council The Council is to comprise three Government and two Opposition members of the Commonwealth Parliament; one representative from each State; three representatives from

local government to be elected by the Australian Council of Local Government Associations and preferably to be selected from separate States; and five citizens to be selected by the Commonwealth in consultation with the States having regard to the various areas and sections of the community.


Rotation of Members Nomination of Commonwealth and State representatives by the Government of the time will ensure rotation of those members in the normal course of electoral change. The local government representatives and the citizens to be appointed for a three-year term with a limit of two consecutive terms. Re-election after a break in office would be permissible.

Status of Members It would be open to Governments to decide whether to appoint Ministers or backbenchers to the Council.

Chairman The Chairman is to be a citizen nominated by the Commonwealth in consultation with the States.

Budget Funds for the Council to be limited to $300 000 in the first year with the proviso that the Commonwealth and the States would meet the cost of fares and accommodation for their representatives.

Cost sharing Costs will be shared:

Commonwealth 45% or $135 000 Local Government 10% or $30 000 States 45% or $135 000 The Australian Council of Local Government Associations will be asked to assess the method of allocating the local government share.

The State share will be allocated as follows:

New South Wales $35 000

Victoria $30 000

Queensland $21 500

South Australia $17500

Western Australia $17000

Tasmania $ 13 500

April 1976


Appendix B

ACIR publications

The Council issues three types of publications: Reports, Information Papers and Discussion Papers.

Reports are issued at the conclusion of a study and contain the advice and recommendations of the Advisory Council. Interim Reports may be issued at significant points during an investigation when it is appropriate to draw attention to progress made or to convey interim conclusions reached.

Information Papers are designed to provide relevant factual data including comparative accounts. They may provide background information about the specific matters being examined by the Council, or assist in developing a better appreciation of both inter­ governmental relations and federal systems of government.

Discussion Papers are being used to generate debate and comment on particular issues arising from the ACIR Inquiry into Local Government, and may canvass various possibilities for change. ACIR hopes that governments, departments and authorities, and the public, will respond to them by taking the opportunity to provide informed comment on the issues and options raised.

In 1984, a serial publication Intergovernmental Focus was initiated by the Extension Committee. Each issue summarises ACIR’s conclusions on a particular topic which has been the subject of inquiry.

Reports Interchange Reference 1. Short-term Interchanges o f Staff \ AGES, Canberra, 1978 2. Staff Interchanges between Governments in Australia, AGPS, Canberra, 1979

Relationships Reference 3. The Relationships between Federal, State and Local Governments, AGPS, Canberra, 1979 4. The Provision o f Roads: a Report on the Relationships among the Three Spheres o f

Government in Australia, ACIR, Hobart, 1981 5. The Australian Loan Council and Intergovernmental Relations, AGPS, Canberra, 1982 6. The Provision o f Services fo r the Aged: A Report on the Relations Among Governments in Australia, AGPS, Canberra, 1983 7. Responsibilities and Resources o f Australian Local Government, AGPS, Canberra,


Information Papers Interchange Reference 1. S taff Interchange Schemes o f the Commonwealth and State Governments, AGPS, Canberra, 1978

5. Regulations Governing the Transfer o f S taff between Commonwealth, State and Local Governments, AGPS, Canberra


Relationships Reference 2. Functional Classification and Statistics o f Outlay o f Public Authorities in Australia 1965-66 to 1975-76, AGPS, Canberra, 1979 3. Intergovernmental Relations in the United States, AGPS, Canberra, 1979 4. Intergovernmental Relations in England, AGPS, Canberra, 1979 6. Relationships between Federal and State Governments in Australia, 2nd edn, AGPS,

Canberra, 1982 7. Local Government Systems o f Australia, AGPS, Canberra, 1981 8. Federalism in West Germany, AGPS, Canberra, 1980 9. Towards Adaptive Federalism: a Search fo r Criteria fo r Responsibility Sharing, AGPS,

Canberra, 1981 10. Register o f Commonwealth-State Co-operative Arrangements, 2nd edn, ACIR, Hobart, 1984

Annual Reports First Annual Report, 31 August 1977, AGPS, Canberra, 1977 Second Annual Report, 31 August 1978, AGPS, Canberra, 1978 Third Annual Report, 31 August 1979, AGPS, Canberra, 1979

Fourth Annual Report, 31 August 1980, AGPS, Canberra, 1980 Fifth Annual Report, 31 August 1981, AGPS, Canberra. 1981 Sixth Annual Report, 31 August 1982, AGPS, Canberra, 1982 Seventh Annual Report, 31 August 1983, AGPS, Canberra, 1983

Discussion Papers 1. The Nature o f Intergovernmental Relationships involving Local Government, ACIR, Hobart, 1980 2. Options fo r Australian Local Government, ACIR, Hobart, 1980 3. Constitutional Recognition o f Local Government, ACIR, Hobart, 1981 4. Additional Revenue Sources fo r Local Government, ACIR, Hobart, 1981

5. Local Government Franchise, Voting and Electoral Arrangements, ACIR, Hobart, 1981 6. Local Government Departments in Australia, ACIR, Hobart, 1981 7. Local Government Associations in Australia, ACIR, Hobart, 1981 8. Sources o f Local Government Funds, ACIR, Hobart, 1982 9. Legal Limits to Local Government — External Approvals & General Competence

Power, ACIR, Hobart, 1982 10. Co-ordinating State and Local Governments, ACIR, Hobart, 1982 11. The Role o f Local Government Councillors, ACIR, Hobart, 1982 12. Local Government Boundary Changes & Amalgamations: An Historical Overview,

ACIR, Hobart, 1983 13. Local Government Boundary Reorganisation, ACIR, Hobart, 1984 14. Australian Housing Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, ACIR, Hobart, 1984 15. Intergovernmental Aspects o f Major Resource Projects and their Infrastructure, ACIR

Hobart, 1984

Intergovernmental Focus No. 1 The Provision o f Services fo r the Aged No. 2 Responsibilities and Resources o f Australian Local Government No. 3 Australian Housing Policy and Intergovernmental Relations No. 4 Local Government Boundary Reorganisation No. 5 Intergovernmental Aspects o f Major Resource Projects and Their Infrastructure