The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the Minister for Local Government, Bryan Green MP’s announcements on local government reform, saying they are significant planks in strengthening Tasmania’s democracy.

Greens Local Government spokesperson Tim Morris MP said that less elections, with all councillors facing the voters at once, and an end to dual-representation would increase accountability as well as lead to more accurate representation and was a win for the Tasmanian community.

“The Greens have long advocated an end to dual representation, where one person holds a seat in both local council and State Parliament, and we successfully established in 2011 a Parliamentary Committee inquiry into introducing compulsory voting for local government,” Mr Morris said.

“Since then these important democracy reforms have been put through a thorough stakeholder consultation process, undertaken to ensure that all council’s have had the opportunity to feed in at every step of the way.”

“The Greens will continue to support the cooperative policy formation process that has begun between local governments and the State Government, but we are keen to ensure these reforms are implemented before the next round of elections.”

“Ultimately compulsory voting will provide the public with representation that corresponds more closely with community interests as well as increase accountability of those holding public offices.”

“It should also turn around the worrying low voter participation rates that we have seen in recent local government elections which shows a lack of engagement with this vital tier of government which is taking on increasing responsibilities for their ratepayers. People need to have their say over who is managing the money they pay towards municipal services, and how they want those services prioritised.”

“The Greens also welcome extending the terms between council elections to four years, this will allow aldermen to worry less about campaigning for their seat and more about delivering services to ratepayers.”

“Dual representation has always been a matter that the Greens have campaigned to have reformed, to ensure that voters get value for their vote.”

“Holding a seat at any level of government is a demanding role and I can’t see how someone can commit the time and effort necessary to meet the standard that the public deserves if they are sitting on two levels of Government,” Mr Morris said.
Tim Morris MP Greens Local Government Spokesperson Sunday, 17 March, 2013