Australia's National Local Government Newspaper Online
|Editions > 2000 > July > Green||Monday May 20, 2013 - Melbourne Time: 05:28:15|
Each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Mayor Lynn Mason, President Local Government Association of Tasmania.
In June, LGAT staged its Annual Conference in Hobart: a three day event which included the AGM of the Association.
I commenced my term as President of the Association following the AGM. I am fortunate to have taken office midway through the term of our current State Government, a time which permits some exploration of new ideas in our relationship. Chief among these is the establishment of the Premier's Local Government Council.
The Protocol Agreement for this Council was signed on 12 May, and embodies the principles which will underpin the Council &endash; genuine and open consultation &endash; with the aim of improved cooperation between the two spheres of government.
Issues already being addressed include waste management, urban hillfaces and skylines, and the Tasmanian Model Planning Scheme. This is seen as an extremely positive development in the relationship.
It opens up possibilities for discussion of other contentious issues, such as the financial obligations of the respective parties, and the constitutional status of Local Government, within an agreed protocol in which Local Government is an equal partner at the table.
The Annual General Meeting agenda item which provoked the most emotional discussion was a motion from Hobart City Council, that Tasmanian Councils enlist the support of all Australian Councils to formulate an official letter of apology to indigenous people on behalf of local communities. The motion was lost 26/23.
There were several reasons for its defeat. One was that in fact, events at the national level have moved on following an apology by the Australian Local Government Association to indigenous people on behalf of Local Government.
The second was that several Councils have already made apology to their local communities.
Thirdly, the motion was brought to the meeting at the last possible moment, and several Councils that may have been sympathetic to the idea felt obliged to vote against the motion on the grounds that their Councillors had not had the opportunity to vote.
There are two immediate results of this.
The first is a sense of indignation and betrayal felt by Tasmanian Aboriginal people, many of whom have equated a no vote with opposition to Reconciliation.
While this is not the case, it is the way it could be interpreted through the reports in the press.
Secondly, it illustrates the continuing need for the leaders within Local Government to make the lines of communication, from the Australian Local Government Association to the most recently elected Councillor, as strong and clear as possible.