The Limits of New Public Management: A Case Study of Indigenous Affairs
J Wanna (ed) New Accountabilities, New Challenges, ANU e-books (forthcoming)
29 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2015
Indigenous policy presents in acute form a case study of challenges to present public administration practice. Successive governments have promised to reduce extreme disadvantage and to do this in conjunction with affected citizens. But failures persist. So how equipped is the Australian public service to meet such challenges? This chapter suggests there is a long way to go. Moreover, the central obstacles to their realisation lie in structural features that are keystones of new public management. At the heart of this chapter is a simple claim: there is an imperative need to reframe governance. This composite concept recognises the essential interdependence between the formal apparatus of the state and its publics. The parties are engaged in a dynamic exchange: the opposite of directed, deferential, passive or paternalistic linkage. In achieving positive and sustainable outcomes, engagement has a primary not a secondary role. Compounding this challenge is the overlap of policy responsibilities between federal and state government. Whilst present rhetoric gestures to the inter-governmental, systemic and contextual character of policy challenges, practice falls far short of stated ambitions. Indigenous policy presents in acute form a case study of challenges to present public administration practice.
Keywords: Australian Indigenous policy, public policy, whole of government, governance
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