For the past several decades, Australian local government has faced relentless financial pressures.
In attempting to maintain service levels, most local authorities have invested too little in local infrastructure maintenance and renewal.
The main symptom of this malaise has been a burgeoning infrastructure backlog, which now far exceeds the fiscal capacity of a majority of councils.
Various remedial policy measures have been espoused to relieve this financial distress, most notably structural reform programs based on forced mergers.
However, compulsory consolidation has failed to achieve its intended aims, and financial unsustainability has become more acute.
Obviously other avenues must now be pursued if Australian local government is to remain viable.