E-government from the Front End: Looking Good or Just Good Looking?

2017-06-05T03:12:49Z (GMT) by McKeown, Tui Teicher, Julian Dow, Nina
Australia's role in being one of the world leaders in moves to e-government is widely acknowledged. Put simply, E-Government in Australia appears to be looking good and, logically such leadership in the use of ICT-assisted forms of governance is particularly apt. Australia is a nation where "size and geographical diversity... has presented the country with particular problems of communication and travel" (Smith, 1999:301). It is also the examination of these problems which clearly identify the need to examine the success of e-government innovations at all three levels of government within Australia. An overview of this larger task was undertaken in an earlier paper (see Teicher, Hughes & Dow, 2002; Teicher & Dow, 2003) and the results presented suggest moves to e-government are not uniform amongst the three levels. The initially positive finding that all 78 Victorian councils had websites was quickly replaced with the reality that most of what these sites provided was classified at the lowest levels of sophistication and largely informational only. What emerges clearly at this level of government are a number of questions about what e-government really means for the organisation embracing it. From the provide perspective we have at this stage it appears local e-government may not be very advanced but it is looking fairly good in terms of potential. The question then is, what about the perspective from the user end of these services? Focussing on the level of local government, this paper presents results of a content analysis websites to further investigate what the implementation of E-Government actually means in terms of the public interface and access initiatives at the regional level. The results of the analysis provide further evidence of Australia being a long way from the concept of 'joined-up-government'. More importantly, there are clear indications that a much greater dept of research at the case study level is required to investigate the range of internal and external interactions - internally in terms of changing organisational structures and support services as management/worker relationships and externally in terms of changing relationships between local government and the public they service.