Local government reform moves ahead in Tasmania

TASMANIAN Planning and Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein last week reaffirmed the State Government's commitment to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of local government to reduce costs to ratepayers through reforms including amalgamations and resource sharing.

"Last year, the Government invited councils to consider voluntary amalgamation or resource sharing arrangements with neighbouring councils," Mr Gutwein said in a statement.

"We asked councils to discuss amalgamation or resource sharing with their communities and to bring forward proposals for modelling by the end of June.

"The vast majority of councils have agreed to be involved in the modelling process. And I expect further proposals in coming weeks.

Tasmania from space
Above: Tasmania from Space / by Jeff Schmaltz.

"So far, eleven councils have indicated they want to consider the next stage of the process that will take a closer look at voluntary amalgamations and strategic resource sharing," the Minister said.

The councils that have expressed interest are: Clarence; Hobart, Sorell, Kingborough, Glenorchy, Glamorgan Spring Bay, Meander Valley, West Tamar, George Town, Northern Midlands and Launceston.

Mr Gutwein said he will be writing to these eleven councils to formalise the process for considering their proposals and to discuss the way forward with them.

"A number of North West councils are in the final stages of developing proposals and I expect to receive those proposals in coming weeks and Dorset and Break O' Day have been positive throughout and are also considering options," he said.

"Four councils have indicated they do not wish to take part in the next stage of the process for a variety of reasons. These councils are: Brighton, Flinders Island, Kentish and Latrobe. However, my door remains open and if they wish to submit a proposal at a later point I would welcome that.
"The conversation on voluntary amalgamations and resource-sharing opportunities that began in February has been conducted in a mature, respectful manner.

"I would like to thank councils for the way that they have approached this opportunity to improve the benefits and services their ratepayers receive and I look forward to the next stage of formalising the projects that will be modelled."

Photo: Tasmania from Space / 'Tasmania.A2005320.2355.250m' / Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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