Clearly focusing on opportunity in an election environment - Presidentís comment
Tasmania, like South Australia is gearing up for a March election, with Victorian State elections later in the year. For Local Government Associations, while state elections are intense and demanding they are also an important opportunity to secure good outcomes for our member councils.
It is with the focus on opportunity that LGAT is approaching these elections. It is not only the opportunity to advocate for investment in policy and projects which benefit both councils and communities, but also the opportunities that exist in Tasmania more broadly and importantly, the opportunities that councils can provide as genuine partners to State Government.
LGAT has developed an election priority statement which identifies key actions for the State Government in the areas of planning, infrastructure, waste, regional development, and community resilience. Underpinning all areas is the recognition that no single body operating alone can effectively influence necessary change.
We want the State Government to work with Local Government as a crucial partner in delivering economic, social and cultural change and in promoting strong, healthy, viable and sustainable communities. As such, investments into communities through councils are an investment in the wellbeing of every Tasmanian and the communities in which they live.
LGAT is also demonstrating how partnership can work, collaborating with a range of Tasmanian peak bodies to identify those matters which we can all agree are important for a prosperous Tasmania. In initiating this partnership approach, LGAT has ensured that Tasmanian peak bodies are far less likely to get played off against each other and that advocacy to the State is focussed on fundamental issues.
LGAT is also thinking ahead to our Local Government elections in October. Candidate information is being updated for forums to be run mid-year. Induction materials and training for new Councillors will be next cab off the rank. In 2014 Tasmania had the first experience of all-in, all-out elections. This generated not only considerable media interest but also a large candidate pool in many municipalities and significant turnover of elected Members. The experience in other States suggests that we are likely to see something similar this year. To that end our forthcoming elected member weekend has a focus on how returned councillors can take a leadership role in forging new relationships with incoming councillors and supporting them to hit the ground running. As community leaders, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure that our councils are the best they can be, starting around the council table.