Australia's Metropolitan Imperative
An Agenda for Governance Reform

Paper: 978 1 4863 0796 8 / $59.95
Published: July 2018  

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
264 pp., 6 5/8" x 9 5/8"
23 illus & 4 photos
Since the early 1990s there has been a global trend towards governmental devolution. However, in Australia, alongside deregulation, public–private partnerships and privatization, there has been increasing centralization rather than decentralization of urban governance. Australian state governments are responsible for the planning, management and much of the funding of the cities, but the Commonwealth government has on occasion asserted much the same role. Disjointed policy and funding priorities between levels of government have compromised metropolitan economies, fairness and the environment.

Australia’s Metropolitan Imperative: An Agenda for Governance Reform makes the case that metropolitan governments would promote the economic competitiveness of Australia’s cities and enable more effective and democratic planning and management. The contributors explore the global metropolitan "renaissance," document the history of metropolitan debate in Australia and demonstrate metropolitan governance failures. They then discuss the merits of establishing metropolitan governments, including economic, fiscal, transport, land use, housing and environmental benefits.

The book will be a useful resource for those engaged in strategic, transport and land use planning, and a core reference for students and academics of urban governance and government.


• The first comprehensive examination of the need for a fourth sphere of governance in Australia, covering the country’s major city-regions, the metropolitan areas.
• Empowers readers to be able to analyze and critique the policy propositions of federal and state governments for Australia’s cities.
• Includes comparative international case studies.

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction: metropolitan governance in the absence of metropolitan government -- Richard Tomlinson

Australian Backdrop
2. Hobbled by history? The governmental gap in metropolitan Australia -- Graeme Davison and David Dunstan
3. Citizen Unseen: Metropolitan democratic and knowledge deficits -- Richard Tomlinson
4. Infrastructure misadventures -- Sophie Sturup

International Precedent
5. The metropolitan renaissance and the model(s) of metropolitan government -- Daniel Kübler
6. Subsidiarity and metropolitan innovation in the USA -- Marcus Spiller and Rhys Murrian
7. Metro mayors, participative democracy and the construction of city-regional governance in England: Manchester’s experience of DevoManc -- Iain Deas
8. Metropolitan governance in Toronto and Vancouver -- Martin Horak and Andreanne Doyon
9. Auckland – An assessment of New Zealand’s experiment with metropolitan governance -- Christine Cheyne

Assessing the Rationale for Metropolitan Government in Australia
10. Economic competitiveness, planning and productivity -- Marcus Spiller and Laura Schmahmann
11. A fair go: Metropolitan government and housing -- Richard Tomlinson and Marcus Spiller
12. Fiscal decentralisation and autonomy -- Vincent Mangioni
13. Australian Cities and the Governance of Climate Change
Peter Newton, Nigel Bertram, John Handmer, Nigel Tapper, Richard Thornton and Penny Whetton
14. Integrated transport and land use planning -- Peter Newman
15. Shaping the metropolis -- Marcus Spiller

16. Conclusion: the metropolis in the federation -- Marcus Spiller