Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


University of Wollongong - Department of Geography


This study examines the mechanism of policy-making as it relates to the provision and location of coal transport infrastructure in NSW.

The study suggests that traditional geographic theories and positivist not adequately explain decision-making models do location decisions and that, intuitively at least, it is apparent that the principles of economic rationality are inappropriate explanatory mechanisms. Rather, it is argued that comprehensive analysis of infrastructure location and provision requires an investigation into the policy-making process itself.

This thesis focusses, therefore, on the relationships between the policy-making process and the location of transport infrastructure. Its perspective is locational the pattern and structure of transport networks for NSW export coal from the early 1970s; but its analytical focus is the mechanism of transport policy-making and decisional analysis which reveal the fundamental nature of the policy process the elem-=nts involved, the power linkages, the 'play of power'.

The study adopts a pluralistic perspective and argues that while policy decisions are made by a relatively small number of decision-makers, the ultimate choice of action, in this instance infrastructure provision and eventual implementation, is location and the outcome of intricate and complex 'play of power'.

The thesis is structured around four detailed case studies, each of which exemplifies not only particular aspects of the policy-making process but also the relationships between the process and the actual structure of the transport system.

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