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Embracing Disruption: Transforming Western Australia’s Land Agency, 2007–2017

12 July 2021



Landscape image of Perth, Western Australia

This case was originally published by the Princeton University Innovations for Successful Societies. To view the case in the Princeton University case library, please click here.

In January 2007, Western Australia’s land agency began a top-to-bottom overhaul of its structure, management, and service delivery. A booming property market, fueled by the state’s extractive resources industry, had overwhelmed the public agency’s aging technology, but budget constraints hindered its ability to upgrade the systems. To provide financial flexibility, the state government created a statutory authority called Landgate—a public institution with some private characteristics. Landgate could keep the revenue it generated from regulated services such as property registration and engage in for-profit commercial activities, which provided resources for investment in better services. But making the new model work was not easy. Landgate’s management team had to win the trust of skeptical staff, reduce delay, and contend with a sharp drop in revenues only two years into its existence when the 2008 global financial crisis struck. To surmount the challenges, the agency created an innovation program, explored ways to commercialize its spatial data, restructured to speed up registration and cut costs, and after one failed attempt, developed an automated registration system. By 2017, Landgate had become financially stable, had drastically reduced processing times, and had won acclaim for its innovative products and management practices.

Maya Gainer drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Perth, Australia, in March 2017. Noel Taylor, at the time CEO of the Cadasta Foundation, assisted in interviews and drafting. The Omidyar Network funded the development of this case study. Case published May 2017.

Authors: Maya Gainer
Published Date: 12 July 2021
Author Institution: Princeton University
Featured Content Length: 21
Content Length: 21
Product Type: One-part case