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PPPs and non-financial value: a critical analysis of public policy and implications for social, environmental and indigenous cultural values

Gordon Boyce (Department of Accounting and Data Analytics, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
Lachlan McDonald-Kerr (Department of Accounting and Data Analytics, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 28 October 2020

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021

1489

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates how contemporary public policy for public-private partnerships (PPPs) deals with non-financial values and thereby shapes the way social, cultural and environmental issues are accounted for.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study critically analyses PPP policy in Victoria, Australia, an acknowledged leader in the area. The investigation of the policy’s approach to non-financial value focusses on the treatment of social and environmental issues, particularly in relation to indigenous cultural heritage values.

Findings

It is found that important non-financial issues are characterised as risks to be quantified and monetised in PPP project assessment. A critical analysis shows that this approach obscures many significant dimensions of social, environmental and Indigenous cultural heritage value. The resultant relegation of non-financial values in public discourse and decision-making is seen to entrench unsustainable practices.

Social implications

The paper shows how public policy may shape actions and outcomes that impact directly on social, environmental and indigenous cultural heritage values.

Originality/value

This study provides insights into contemporary social and environmental accounting and accountability for PPPs. It adds to the understanding of the implications of public policy framings of non-financial values.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are indebted to Cindy Davids and Emma Peacock for their valuable comments on the paper. They also acknowledge the two anonymous reviewers and the guest editors for their comments and suggestions, which helped them to improve the paper.

Citation

Boyce, G. and McDonald-Kerr, L. (2021), "PPPs and non-financial value: a critical analysis of public policy and implications for social, environmental and indigenous cultural values", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 324-344. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-02-2020-0775

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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