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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The majority of Australians live in capital cities, and the urban–rural divide represents one of the most deeply ingrained and enduring cleavages in Australian society. Regional governance is therefore a crucial part of place-making in Australian politics. This chapter highlights the strengths and challenges for local government in Australia, paying particular attention to regional and rural governance. It does so from two perspectives. The first is a top-down focus on the institutional arrangements that can either privilege or marginalize regional interests, and includes an examination of the constitutional, electoral, and executive forces that affect decision-making for these areas. The second perspective is bottom-up, and considers Australian citizens’ identification with, and sense of belonging to, regional areas. It draws on insights from recent survey data to analyse individual-level identities and their influence on political views, and also considers the broader contribution of the outback and the ‘bushman’ as important (if challenged) features of Australian national identity and popular rhetoric, which is accessible to both regional and metropolitan residents.

Keywords: local government, regional governance, place-making, public attitudes, Australia

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