The Australian community is vastly different in the 21st Century than in the 20th, with vastly different expectations. Drivers for change include accelerating technological developments, rapidly changing demographics, new international powers and connections, and global environmental concerns. One of the key impacts has been the realization that governments and their agencies cannot work on their own.
For a decade or more we have been talking about, and experimenting with, ways to respond to these pressures through networks and partnerships, third-party service delivery, consultation and collaboration, community involvement and control, mutual responsibility and empowerment. What is happening in practice and what have we learned? What will the next generation public sector look like if it is to be successful? Is a new level of shared responsibility likely to emerge in order to identify and meet community objectives? If so, how will those involved be held accountable? What will be the role of governments, individuals, community organizations and business?