QUT ePrints

A summary view of government cost recovery policies in Australia and New Zealand relating to the supply of public sector information

Cook, John (2010) A summary view of government cost recovery policies in Australia and New Zealand relating to the supply of public sector information. [Working Paper] (Unpublished)

Abstract

Researching administrative history is problematical. A trail of authoritative documents is often hard to find; and useful summaries can be difficult to organise, especially if source material is in paper formats in geographically dispersed locations. In the absence of documents, the reasons for particular decisions and the rationale underpinning particular policies can be confounded as key personnel advance in their professions and retire. The rationale for past decisions may be lost for practical purposes; and if an organisation’s memory of events is diminished, its learning through experience is also diminished. Publishing this document tries to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort by other researchers that need to venture into how policies of charging for public sector information have been justified. The author compiled this work within a somewhat limited time period and the work does not pretend to be a complete or comprehensive analysis of the issues.-----

A significant part of the role of government is to provide a framework of legally-enforceable rights and obligations that can support individuals and non-government organisations in their lawful activities. Accordingly, claims that governments should be more ‘business-like’ need careful scrutiny. A significant supply of goods and services occurs as non-market activity where neither benefits nor costs are quantified within conventional accounting systems or in terms of money. Where a government decides to provide information as a service; and information from land registries is archetypical, the transactions occur as a political decision made under a direct or a clearly delegated authority of a parliament with the requisite constitutional powers. This is not a market transaction and the language of the market confuses attempts to describe a number of aspects of how governments allocate resources.-----

Cost recovery can be construed as an aspect of taxation that is a sole prerogative of a parliament. The issues are fundamental to political constitutions; but they become more complicated where states cede some taxing powers to a central government as part of a federal system. Nor should the absence of markets be construed necessarily as ‘market failure’ or even ‘government failure’. The absence is often attributable to particular technical, economic and political constraints that preclude the operation of markets. Arguably, greater care is needed in distinguishing between the polity and markets in raising revenues and allocating resources; and that needs to start by removing unhelpful references to ‘business’ in the context of government decision-making.

Impact and interest:

Citation countsare sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

249 since deposited on 05 Apr 2010
57 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloadsdisplays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 31609
Item Type: Working Paper
Keywords: pubic sector information, taxation, cost recovery, spatial information
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Public Economics- Taxation and Revenue (140215)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Public Economics- Publically Provided Goods (140214)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 John Cook
Deposited On: 06 Apr 2010 09:57
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2010 00:26

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page