Capital cities in 2014 and beyond need to have capacity to respond to the trends which are shaping the new global world. The boundaries of existing local governments and communities have come out of eras where communication, technology, employment, transportation and residential land use patterns were very different.
Any work undertaken around the review of local government boundaries, especially where it relates to the role of a capital city, needs to be considered not only in a spatial context but more importantly from a functional perspective. The capital city local authority now needs to respond to very different international, national and state environments.
There is a clear line of sight between the capital city local government, the strategic policy framework and direction sort by the state. Cues in terms of how the local government will need to respond come out of the commentary in the State Planning Strategy, where there is a deliberate focus around global competitiveness, economy, infrastructure planning, regional development and community building. Local government governance arrangements will either hinder or enable the capital city local government to deliver the high levels of leadership required of it.
Perth case study: Influences and Response
In relation to boundary changes there will always be considerable debate (recent examples include Queensland and Victoria). Most of this debate will occur around general spatial issues, population distribution, historical community centres of interest and perceived or otherwise efficiency gains. This is generally the case around the more generic typical local governments; however when it comes to the local government which primarily performs the capital city role, the above issues should be qualified behind the primary focus “of its capital city functional role”.
The decision to adjust the delineation of a capital city local government and adjacent local government areas; need to ensure functional roles are not blurred. Future potential conflicts will be reduced if the capital city functional roles can be contained within an appropriate allocated area relevant to key themes. Unnecessary fragmentation or the need for the capital city local government to perform roles outside of the above themes will hinder the ability of the local government to deliver. It will be necessary in the decision making to ensure that there is not unnecessary fragmentation across multiple local authorities.