Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Effectiveness and efficiency – is that what local government is really about?

The Minister for Local Government, Peter Gutwein, and the Property Council’s Brian Wightman, are leading the charge for a more effective, efficient and amalgamated local government sector in Tasmania.

Minister Gutwein says he doesn’t have a pre-determined outcome but wants to start the discussions (but only with a select few and on a regional basis). Neither is the government willing to push things.

He wants the most competitive local government sector possible (competitive with what is not defined). Whiteman says the costs of local government are too high and Property Council polling says there are too many councils.

Meanwhile, newly elected President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania, Mayor Barry Jarvis, says most councils are in favour of resource sharing rather than amalgamations.

What sense can be made of these statements?

That amalgamation won’t happen. The level of trust and co-operation is just not there to sustain this top down policy process, especially as the ordinary ratepayer is being excluded out of the most important discussion that affects their homes and communities.

That local government will continue to face erosion of its roles and responsibilities over time by State government policy fiat (water, sewerage, planning – what’s next?) and increasing amounts of debt as funding reduces in real terms.

That representation of local communities will continue to decline as Councils steadily shed their elected members each time the Local Government Board reviews a Council, and as the problem of population based remuneration of elected members is not addressed.

If Property Council President Tim Johnston says investors and developers in Tasmania are forced to play by 29 different sets of rules, structures and roles, making investment in the State unworkable, then he needs to start examining what the problem really is.

Let’s turn this discussion around.

Rather than ask whether we have too many Councils, how about we ask what it is we have in common? Have a look at the table below of roles and responsibilities.

Read the full article here

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. A.K.

    December 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Local and state government by the people on line, then all our problems would be solved. No amalgamations needed, cost would reduce dramatically as there’d be no need of useless expensive general managers and other empty headed elitist hangers on. No politicians, senior bureaucrats, councilors or mayors to rip us off, with decisions made by the people and not designed to increase the profits of vested interests.

    Nothing else can work as every approach coming out of the distant past is failing miserably.

  2. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    “Effectiveness and efficiency – is that what local government is really about?”

    Well, yes, if what elected aldermen do with their ratepayers’ money is considered “really” important.

    But, if what elected aldermen do with their ratepayers’ money is not considered “really” important, then who gives shit?

    Aldermen potentially belong to that most profligate, careless and irresponsible group of spenders, those who [mis]spend Other People’s Money on Other People.

  3. David Halse Rogers

    December 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Ald. Eva Ruzicka is dead right regarding local government amalgamations: the ratepayers don’t trust the State Government – nor the Property Council’s self-interest in this issue, for that matter. If Mr. Gutwein is keen to start the discussion, be inclusive and include all interested parties. He and those pushing this barrow need to show that, where amalgamations have occurred, ratepayers have saved money. I predict that resource sharing will will the day.

  4. mike seabrook

    December 14, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    look at the council merged tasmanian water and sewerage for example and the increasing water and sewerage bills

    ask do voters north of oatlands wanna pay half the estimated cost whch could amount to $50million to the northerners for relocating the macquarie point sewerage works away from the hobart waterfront.

    the bigger they get the more inequities.

    do northern voters wanna pay for free 1st hour carparking in hobart for the hobart businesses or for the myer hole or rate rebates to ali sultan businesses for the next 10 or so years or for mainland footy clubs to play footy at bellerive oval for the next 4 or will it be 10 years (refer hobart city council financials 2013/2014 note 45)

    what says the hobart businesses if a larger council floggs off the car parks to a price gouging monopolist.

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