Local Democracy and Local Government Efficiency: The Case for Elected Executives in Australian Local Government
In the international context it has been argued that institutional reform to leadership in local government can improve the sector in terms of both its democratic legitimacy and its operational efficiency. In Australia, despite two decades of far-reaching reform processes across state government jurisdictions, focused heavily on structural change, local government still faces daunting problems, yet the potential of reform to political leadership as a method of alleviating these problems has not been fully explored. This paper thus examines the applicability of alternative leadership models to Australian local government, in particular the elected executive model which characterises some American and European local government systems. We argue that the introduction of elected executives could prove problematic in terms of accountability and representation in Australian local government.