Between 1960 and 1992 Australian state governments held numerous formal Inquiries
into the question of appropriate local government boundaries. The deliberations and
subsequent reports produced by these Inquiries provides an instructive and
informative historical background to contemporary debates surrounding the
controversial issue of local government amalgamation. This paper outlines and
examines the major criteria invoked by these Inquiries. It is argued that not only are
many criteria intrinsically incoherent, but that they have also generally been
inconsistently applied to the problem of local government amalgamation.