The Pacific Motorway – A Case Study Examining Public Sector Management Dilemmas

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The Pacific Motorway – A Case Study Examining Public Sector Management Dilemmas

Curtin Business School, Curtin University of Technology
  • Accountability
  • Contracting Out
  • 160509 Public Administration
  • Public Sector Management


During the last two decades the Public Sector in Australia has come under increasing pressure to improve performance and demonstrate greater transparency. In addressing these pressures, departments have undertaken innovative adaptations of managerial and administrative practices to better suit the demands of the public sector environment. A major area of concern has been in regard to issues of accountability brought about by increases in both devolution and contracting out. Traditional adversarial contracts have posed budgetary, quality and completion dilemmas in major civil engineering projects in both the private and public sectors. This paper examines the adoption of relational style contracts as well as devolution of managerial responsibility in the Department of Main Roads in Queensland. The paper addresses whether contracts that focus on establishing relational interactions rather than protecting differing interests have better outcomes for public and parliamentary accountability or whether they merely act as further evidence of the different priorities of the public and private sectors.

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