Federalism for the 21st Century - A Framework for Achieving Reform and Change

This project is a collaboration between UNSW and the Australian Catholic University. Staff involved in the project are: Associate Professor Andrew Lynch, Professor George Williams, Professor Neil Warren, Mr Paul Kildea (UNSW) and Professor Gregory Crav...

Australian federalism needs urgent repair. Over 107 years it has become a costly and inefficient means of governance. This project will produce a framework against which proposals for the reform of our federal system can be judged. It will be grounded in constitutional theory, the history and operation of Australia's federal arrangements and institutions and the experience of successful reform overseas. This framework will then be applied in case studies of health and water management so as to produce systemic solutions to federal problems in areas of national interest.

The Australian federal system is undergoing rapid change. The negotiation of the 2008 Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations has caused a substantial reordering of Australia’s constitutional relationships. This project is engaged in research that subjects these recent developments in intergovernmental relations to scrutiny and analysis from a public law perspective. It is grounded in constitutional theory, the history and operation of Australia's federal arrangements and institutions and the experience of federations overseas. Major outputs include an edited collection on the mechanisms of federal reform, and journal articles on the constitutional status of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the operation of the referrals power, and the challenges of water management in the Australian federation. Future research will focus on the relationship between health reform and the federal system.