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Accountability of Australian local government authorities for national waste data from outsourced services

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Oosthuizen, H (2016) Accountability of Australian local government authorities for national waste data from outsourced services. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The National Waste Policy Implementation Plan advocates the outsourcing of waste management services by contemplating ‘multi-agency management arrangements’ and ‘active partnerships’ between governments and industry (EPHC 2010a, p. 9). The Tasmanian Waste Strategy reinforces the national outsourcing approach by recommending that local government authorities (LGAs) engage in initiatives such as ‘collaborative partnerships’ with industry (Environmental Protection Authority 2009, pp. 3 & 9).
The outsourcing of waste management services by LGAs to external service providers introduces another layer of accountability, resulting in the flow of waste data across organisational and geographical boundaries, which leads to a more complex reporting environment (Ball, Broadbent & Jarvis 2006).
This thesis investigates whether the expectations of the federal Australian government with respect to the provision and dissemination of data through the outsourcing of municipal solid waste (MSW) are being fulfilled by posing the question: Are the accountability expectations of the Australian federal government satisfied in the outsourcing of waste management services by LGAs?
This study broadly follows the institutional collective action (ICA) framework’s (Feiock 2013) approach to explore the Australian federal government’s accountability expectations, due to the collective action required by multiple LGAs and their service providers in different jurisdictions to provide national waste data (Bel, Fageda & Mur 2014). A multi-method approach combining textual narrative analysis of documents, archival records and direct observation supplemented by semi-structured interviews is followed (Yin 2014).
The study found that managers of LGAs and their service providers are only willing to supply waste data through an accountability relationship with higher levels of government based on compliance with minimum legal requirements. The lack of adequate waste data collection tools constrains the collection of outsourced waste data, whilst the collaborative outsourcing practices of LGAs in Tasmania’s Southern Waste Strategy Authority (SWSA) jurisdiction resulted in some complex forms of multi-agency arrangements and partnerships. In the absence of improved communication and consultation between all principals and agents, the accountability expectations of the Australian federal government for improved waste data collection systems will not be met.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: accountability, national waste data, outsourcing, Australian local government authorities, ALGAs
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Copyright 2016 the Author

Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 04:51
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2017 01:41
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