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Making a splash: Local council accountability implications for a proposed aquatic and health centre

Nick Sciulli (College of Business, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 6 November 2017




The purpose of this study is to investigate how accountability and transparency was used to inform the local community and support the decision-making of the Surf Coast Shire (SCS) with respect to the development of an aquatic and health centre.


This project investigates a case study of a proposed aquatic and leisure centre located within the SCS (Victoria-Australia). The paper draws on content analysis and an interpretative approach to critically analyse publicly available archival documents sourced from the SCS, consultant reports and the popular press.


Providing extensive disclosure for a major capital works project and engaging the community to determine support for such a project was undertaken for reasons of accountability and transparency. However, community feedback has provided evidence of divisions between and within local township communities.

Practical implications

This project illustrates that being transparent and communicating accounting information via different forums can create significant community engagement to facilitate council decision-making albeit at a cost to some social disharmony.


It is typical for local councils to prepare budgets that inform the community how funds will be expended. In this case, the council has sought feedback from the community before a capital-intensive decision has been made. This approach extends the notion of accountability by disclosing managements’ decision-making apparatus.



The author thanks the two anonymous reviewers who provided helpful and constructive feedback on an earlier draft of this paper.


Sciulli, N. (2017), "Making a splash: Local council accountability implications for a proposed aquatic and health centre", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 534-550.



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