Well I wouldn't go to that extreme either! They do the detail
implementation work that would otherwise bog state governments down. That's
the sense in which I talk about councils as contractors implementing the
state government's policies and strategies. Nothing in this prevents
democratic participation in the process at either level. I get the feeling
that the planning system is stronger at state level in NSW. Helps us deal
with population growth and the infrastructure needed for it much better.
Melbourne has the bones for an excellent public transport system - a pretty
complex and evenly-spread (except for the NE) rail system, a large tram
system with a good coverage and the potential to connect to it in the outer
areas with a good bus system. The classic structure of a good European
city. However, the implementation isn't developing this basic asset
anywhere near as well as it should and that's a big problem given the
current rate of population growth.