Streamlining local government : evaluating an eGovernment initiative in south east Queensland

Anon. (2007) Streamlining local government : evaluating an eGovernment initiative in south east Queensland. [Report]


Recent initiatives around the world have highlighted the potential for information and communications technology (ICT) to foster better service delivery for businesses. Likewise, ICT has also been applied to government services and is seen to result in improved service delivery, improved citizen participation in government, and enhanced cooperation across government departments and between government departments. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) (2006) identified local government development assessment (DA) arrangements as a ‘hot spot’ needing specific attention, as the inconsistent policies and regulations between councils impeded regional economic activity. COAG (2006) specifically suggested that trials of various ICT mechanisms be initiated which may well be able to improve DA processes for local government. While the authors have explored various regulatory mechanisms to improve harmonisation elsewhere (Brown and Furneaux 2007), the possibility of ICT being able to enhance consistency across governments is a novel notion from a public policy perspective. Consequently, this paper will explore the utility of ICT initiatives to improve harmonisation of DA across local governments. This paper examines as a case study the recent attempt to streamline Development Assessment (DA) in local governments in South East Queensland. This initiative was funded by the Regulation Reduction Incentive Fund (RRIF), and championed by the South East Queensland (SEQ) Council of Mayors. The Regulation Reduction Incentive Fund (RRIF) program was created by the Australian government with the aim to provide incentives to local councils to reduce red tape for small and medium sized businesses. The funding for the program was facilitated through a competitive merit-based grants process targeted at Local Government Authorities. Grants were awarded to projects which targeted specific areas identified for reform (AusIndustry, 2007), in SEQ this focused around improving DA processes and creating transparency in environmental health policies, regulation and compliance. An important key factor to note with this case study is that it is unusual for an eGovernment initiative. Typically individual government departments undertake eGovernment projects in order to improve their internal performance. The RRIF case study examines the implementation of an eGovernment initiative across 21 autonomous local councils in South East Queensland. In order to move ahead, agreement needed to be reached between councils at the highest level. Having reviewed the concepts of eGovernment and eGovernance, the literature review is undertaken to identify the typical cost and benefits, barriers and enablers of ICT projects in government. The specific case of the RRIF project is then examined to determine if similar costs and benefits, barriers and enablers could be found in the RRIF project. The outcomes of the project, particularly in reducing red tape by increasing harmonisation between councils are explored.

Additional Information

Item Type: Report
Collection: CRC for Construction Innovation
Keywords: CRC for Construction Innovation; Program A : Business and Industry Development; Project: 2004-032-A : Construction Industry Business Environment (CIBE)
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2014 03:14
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2014 03:20
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