Another long-standing aspect of Australian economic development was the prevalence of government owned business enterprises. Australian national and state governments in the past have operated a range of different business enterprises. These enterprises were mainly of such things as energy (gas and electricity), transport (railways, aviation, ports and public transport), finance (insurance and banks) and communications (post and telecommunications), but have also included betting agencies, printers, and defence manufacturers. 1 The reform process began in the 1970s, but debate over the status of the government business enterprises intensified in the 1980s after the success of the privatisation programme in the United Kingdom in the early to mid-1980s (Pollitt 1999). The Australian Government began moves to privatise the government owned airlines and Commonwealth Bank late in the 1980s amid a great deal of controversy about whether this was a desirable act or not. At the state level privatisation took place to varying degrees across the states. By the end of the 1990s a significant amount of government owned assets had changed to private ownership, but even today there are still in Australia a significant number of government owned business enterprises.