Professor Dennis Shoesmith

Professor Dennis Shoesmith

Professor Dennis Shoesmith,
University Professorial Fellow, CDU

Developing a Relevant and Effective Model of Decentralised Local Governance in Eastern Indonesia

The presentation provides an interim report on developing new and effective models of decentralised local governance in disadvantaged areas (daerah tertinggal) in eastern Indonesia Daerah tertinggal are defined as areas that lack adequate sources of livelihood for their populations. This is broadly the situation in the eastern province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), one of the poorest regions in Indonesia. The interim report draws on a pilot study conducted by CDU and University of Nusa Cendana researchers in 2015-2016. The team investigated the working of local governance in Timur Tenggah Selatan regency in West Timor. Identifying relevant and effective models of local governance in  disadvantaged areas addresses the priorities of the Indonesian government, set out in the Regional Action Plan for the Accelerated Development of Disadvantaged Regions (Regulation 78 2014) in the context of the National Development Plan 2005-2025. The argument tested by the study is that governance in disadvantaged areas requires a specific model of operation between the central, provincial and district governments that can overcome the serious deficiencies of human and physical resource capacity in daerah tertinggal.


Dennis Shoesmith’s field of research is the comparative politics of Southeast Asia. Originally, his research was concerned with Philippine politics and, specifically, the political role of the Catholic Church in the Philippines during the Marcos regime. Since 1999 he has focussed on Timor-Leste where his work on governance, state-building, democratic transitions, political party systems and electoral politics has attracted international recognition. He has been a consultant for the United Nations and for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Timor-Leste. He was co-author in 2015 of a report commissioned by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on opportunities for trilateral cooperation between Australia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste in their shared sub-region.

Current projects include studies of local government and models of decentralisation in Timor-Leste and, more recently, models of local governance in disadvantaged areas of eastern Indonesia. He is currently a Chief Investigator in a pilot study on the progress of local governance in Timur Tengah Selatan regency in West Timor. For more see Professor Shoesmith’s staff profile.