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This research examines the role of local government engagement and coordination in modern Australian metropolitan governance. It focusses on the role of local governments in cooperation with one another, the state governments, and other actors at the metropolitan scale, and includes consideration of how local identity and actions can be understood and practiced within a larger metropolitan context to create more responsive, effective and democratic outcomes.

Key points:

  • Metropolitan governance structures vary greatly between Australian states, and consequently there are different levels of local government engagement with strategic policy and action.
  • Australia can gain insights from international examples about possible models for local government coordination and metropolitan governance, and vice versa.
  • State governments are the dominant actors for urban planning and transport infrastructure and, consequently, also often the driving force for metropolitan strategy-making and coordination at this scale.
  • Local governments have no constitutional powers, but still hold an important role in metropolitan strategy-making and policy coordination.
  • There is an increasing role for a policy framework for metropolitan regions and that better supports multi-level governance and coordination, including the role of local government authorities.
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AHURI Final Report 352