Projects for Local Government


Submission to the Council Boundary Review: Proposed Merger Between Gloucester Shire, Great Lakes and Taree City Councils


The Submission suggests that the proposed merger be looked at from an investment perspective. A key matter for consideration would involve the identification of what each Council is not doing now that that a merged Council would be able to do for the current levels of investment of Council (ratepayer) resources. This consideration means identifying the financial, economic and social benefit (and cost) to all residents of moving to a uniform standard of services across the merged Council.


Great Lakes Council would appear to be concerned about the cost of bringing service levels in Gloucester and Taree up to a Great Lakes benchmark. This would appear, on the basis of presentations made at public meetings, to involve significant additional funding to tackle the asset backlog in Taree and Gloucester. There may, of course, be services provided in Taree and Gloucester that are not currently being provided in Great Lakes, and which Great Lakes residents would benefit from. These matters must be considered in an investment proposition.


An investment proposition is generally based on a supporting business case that addresses considerations of benefits (returns on investment), costs and risks. Very limited evidence is available around these parameters. In the following paragraphs a number of issues for consideration regarding the factors involved in developing a business case for investing in the merger Proposal put forward by the Minister.

The Submission raises issues concerning the strength of the "business case" for the merger, having regard to considerations of return, cost and risk.


Download the Submission


The What, How and Why of Social Media – A Guide for Local Government.  2014, The Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG)


The Report addresses all key elements of social media to provide an insight into how it can be harnessed to advance communication and engagement activities.  The Report is was released in July 2014.


Download The What, How and Why of Social Media


Connecting with Communities: How Local Government is Using Social Media to Engage with Citizens.2012, Canberra, ANSZOG Institute for Governance, Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, 2012.


The study was undertaken in the context of the growing recognition of the importance of social media to Local Government.  It involved extensive consultation with the Local Government community around the country, and included a national online survey sent to all 560 local government councils.


Download Connecting with Communities.


The report was featured in the August 2012 Issue of Local Agenda, the Official Journal of the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW. The Issue has a special feature on "Digital Communications: Changing the Way Councils Communicate".


Innovation, Ingenuity and Initiative: the Adoption and Application of New Ideas in Australian Local Government. 2012, Canberra, ANSZOG Institute for Governance, Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, 2012.


This project sought to identify areas where Local Government has embraced the adoption and application of ideas and sought to demonstrate ways that the business of local government is undertaken.


View Report.


Social Media and the Flood Crisis response in the City of Brisbane

Canberra, ANSZOG Institute for Governance, Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, 2012. Innovation in Local Government: Defining the Challenge, Making the Change, 2012


Faced with an urgent need to deliver vital factual information to its citizens, the Council turned to a new channel to communicate with those people directly affected by the floods and with the city of Brisbane more broadly.  The results were outstanding.


View Report.


Earlier projects


Problems and Prospects for Rural Local Government. The Australian Local Government Handbook.

Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1989.


The impact of change upon the local government workforce in the medium term: a discussion paper.

Melbourne: National Review of Local Government Labour Markets, 1988.


Rating and Local Government Finance: A Discussion Paper.

Sydney: Department of Local Government, NSW, 1988.


The National Inquiry Into Local Government Finance: A case study.

Canberra: Public Policy Program, Australian National University in Collaboration with Royal Australian Institute of Public Administration, ACT Division, 1988.


Local Government in a Changing Environment

Melbourne: National Review of Local Government Labour Markets, 1987.


Local Government in an Isolated Community.

Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1985. Citation


"Local Government Revenue Raising," in Report of the National Inquiry into Local Government Finance - Research and Consultancy Reports: Volume 2.

Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1985.



Opportunities for Local Government for provision of agency services.

Sydney: Department of Local Government, NSW, 1990.



A comprehensive review of Australia's higher education system was published as Rethinking Australian Higher Education by Howard Partners and UTS on 18 February 2021.


In May 2020 an extended analysis of Australia's research capacity was published as  Challenges for Australian Research and Innovation by UTS as an Occasional Paper.


In 2019 Howard Partners completed the first ever comprehensive Performance Review of the Rural Innovation System for the  National Primary Industries Research and Innovation Committee.



Dr John Howard

PO Box 47

Rose Bay NSW 2029


M 0403 583 600