Local Government Council publishes draft report on review of the future of local government

Nic Street, Minister for Local Government

Local Government Minister MP for Nic Street and Local Government Council Chairman Hon. Sue Smith AM, today released the interim report on the review of the future of local government. The report describes the results of the Commission’s engagement with the community and local government sector, and its research, during Stage 1 of the review. It also identifies priority reform areas that the Board will explore during Stage 2 of the review.

Local Government Minister Nic Street said:

“I would like to thank all members of the Local Government Council for their work to date. The review is a unique opportunity to take stock of our system of local government and ensure that it is well set up to serve the community in the future.

“The review is one of many initiatives the Tasmanian government has taken to strengthen and support the local government sector.

“One of my first acts as minister was to introduce compulsory voting in municipal elections, which I hope will encourage more people to stand for municipal elections in October this year. I will shortly be proposing legislative changes to make the advisor code of conduct process more efficient.

“This review is another vital initiative that will help build community confidence in local councils. We want to ensure that councils have the professional skills and resources they need to be able to serve their communities in a sustainable way over the long term.

The Chairman of the Local Government Council, Hon. Sue Smith AM said:

“The Local Government Council has heard strong support from the community for the role of local government in delivering local services and as the voice of communities with other levels of government.

“We also heard that people think local government is struggling to fulfill all of its responsibilities, especially the smaller councils.

“People told us that councils need to be big enough to be sustainable, but small enough to truly represent their community.

“In Stage 2 of the review, the Council will explore reforms that can achieve these twin goals of making local government sustainable and truly representing every local community around the state.

“Much of the public debate has focused on board mergers. The Council thinks much more broadly than just a merger, where two or more councils are brought together.

“We are looking at all the options for consolidation that people have raised with us – from agreements between councils in an area to provide shared services to full merger of councils.

“All options are on the table. In Stage 2, we will examine the extent to which each of these options leads to better services provided to communities.

“We gave every Tasmanian the opportunity to give us their perspective during Stage 1, and the council learned a lot from that feedback. We want to continue to hear from you in Stage 2 of the progress of the examination.

“The interim report we are releasing today includes a number of consultation questions, some of them important on the role of local government.

“We want to continue to hear from you as we develop the list of workable reform options we will propose at the end of Stage 2.”

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