Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (Jun 2021)

Australian local government’s contribution to good governance on major projects: increasing information, participation and deliberation

  • Sarah de Vries

Journal volume & issue
no. 24


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Decision-making for major projects is often outside the legal remit of local governments in Australia. Nevertheless, local governments are the legitimate representatives of their communities and as such, can potentially make an important contribution to the decision-making process. However, little is known about how they may do so. This paper addresses that gap by analysing two case studies: Coal Seam Gas projects in northern New South Wales and the proposed East West Link tunnel in Melbourne. The research finds that local governments can contribute to good governance by increasing the quality and availability of information, community participation, and opportunities for local deliberation. However, this study also found a number of barriers to local governments making these contributions, which can disincentivise and limit local advocacy. The paper suggests there may be a range of benefits to be gained by reducing those barriers.