The management of community infrastructure by local governments has emerged as a significant policy issue in Australia as evidence mounts of a funding shortfall to maintain ageing physical assets. In 2003 the Victorian government introduced a new infrastructure management policy to focus local government decision-making on service potential and financial sustainability rather than political interests or community preference. However, the policy relies on a model of local government as a service provider that is inattentive to new interests in community building and governance and takes limited account of the wider social value of community facilities. This article backgrounds debates over infrastructure, particularly at local level, and critically analyses the new policy direction set by the Victorian government. © National Council of the Institute of Public Administration Australia 2006.
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