The aim of this article is to understand why, in the aftermath of the 1998 Sydney water contamination crisis, policy and institutional reform was comparatively minor-despite intense scrutiny and criticism of the framework of water policy in New South Wales (NSW). The article should be of serious interest to scholars interested in crisis and policy change, rather than simply those with a particular interest in water policy in Australia. It frames the Sydney case as a disconfirming one but finds that an understanding of the stability/change relationship in NSW water policy can only partially be understood through applying key contemporary institutional, actor, and interest-centered explanations. Therefore, it probes the plausibility of an additional explanation and develops the rudiments of a new "policy configuration" approach to help explain policy stability and change. It concludes by suggesting that there is potential for a policy configuration perspective to be tested against other cases.
- policy and institutional reform