Strategic planning in Australian local government

Strategic planning in Australian local government
08 August 2013

A new report from ACELG compares the various approaches in each Australian jurisdiction toward implementing local government reforms, with a particular look at requirements for strategic and corporate planning and reporting.

The paper, Strategic planning in Australian local government: A comparative analysis of state frameworks, was written by Su Fei Tan and Sarah Artist of the UTS Centre for Local Government, an ACELG Program Partner.

In practice there are a number of practical, conceptual and resourcing challenges for councils in undertaking an effective strategic planning and reporting process. Each state requires different things from local governments in terms of strategic and corporate planning. Strategic planning is concerned with influencing trends and issues in the locality, irrespective of a council’s corporate responsibilities. This is distinct from corporate planning which addresses the administration of the council`s own activities. By comparing the rationale and the realities strategic planning provisions, considerations for future policy reforms can be explored. 

The research begins with a brief overview of the history of local government strategic and corporate planning, and then examines the various legislative reforms and provisions mandated by the different Australian jurisdictions which set out requirements for local government strategic planning. A table summarises the features of these provisions in each state.

Some initial observations on the challenges of implementing strategic and corporate planning across the jurisdictions are then made, such as resourcing implementation, roles and responsibilities, community input into resourcing, intergovernmental integration, measuring progress.

This paper demonstrates that more work can be done to understand whether the legislative provisions are indeed leading to better strategic management within the councils and localities.


Download the paper here.

Further Information

Su Fei Tan
UTS Centre for Local Government, Senior Research Officer
Ph: 02 9514 1061 | E: [email protected]

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