Topic: Strengthening the public focus of Queensland Government owned businesses: theoretical perspectives, legal realities, and possibilities for improvement

Presenter: Victoria Baumfield

Following the modern push for government-owned businesses (GOBs) to be managed on commercial terms, these businesses increasingly seem to be managed in ways that do not put the needs of their customers – the public – first. This has led to increasing public dissatisfaction with how these businesses are run, particularly in areas such as water, where the business often comprises a natural monopoly. Such customers can neither take their business elsewhere nor forgo the purchase altogether. Accordingly, the only real incentive these GOBs have to operate in a more public-focused way is the extent to which the law requires them to do so. Yet, as recent examples involving the Southeast Queensland water supply industry illustrate, the law in this area is woefully deficient. This thesis aims, therefore, to identify ways that the law can be improved to make GOBs more responsive to public concerns. Part I of the thesis examines theoretical perspectives that may inform why and how GOB attention and accountability to the public can be strengthened. Part II will examine the extent to which corporate governance and other accountability mechanisms currently require Queensland GOB managers to be responsive to the needs of the public. Part III will consider possible solutions.

All welcome, no RSVP required.

Contact: Claire Lam, ph: (336) 57903, email:

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