The Tasmanian Government has announced a stimulus package available to local government areas in the State’s North.
The Northern Economic Stimulus Package includes up to $60 million worth of loans to councils who bring forward planned projects.
Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said the plan aims to address the State’s two-speed economy and help the North perform on par with the South.
“These are initiatives which will drive the Northern and North Western economies, and ensure the whole State benefits from Tasmania’s economic recovery,” he said.
City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the package is an "exciting opportunity" for Northern Tasmanian councils and it could allow the Council to undertake two public space redevelopments.
"We believe the redevelopments planned for the Launceston City Heart Project will benefit both business owners and residents long into the future,” said the Mayor.
"We are also keen to work with other councils on how we may be able to collaborate to combine our resources in the delivery of programs of benefit to the entire region."
It is estimated that the Northern Economic Stimulus Package will support over 800 jobs and stimulate $100 million in additional State and Local Government infrastructure, as well as $100 million in private sector investment over 2016/17 and 2017/18.
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The New South Wales council amalgamation process drags on, with mixed results for councils handed down by the Land and Environment Court earlier this week.
Justice Time Moore dismissed attempts by Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Ku-Ring-Gai and Shellharbour Councils to block amalgamations with neighbouring councils.
The councils will have the opportunity to appeal the decision over the coming week.
There was better news for Mosman, North Sydney and Strathfield Councils, who have sidestepped pending mergers – at least temporarily – due to flaws found in the respective reports.
Justice Moore ruled the report proposing a merger between Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby Councils was not valid because it ignored a mandatory requirement of the Local Government Act – “the need to ensure that the opinions of each of the diverse communities of the resulting area or areas are effectively represented.”
Mosman Council has welcomed the decision and at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night, resolved to continue to campaign for independence.
Mosman Mayor Peter Abelson said the Council is working with its legal team to decide the best path forward.
"What we're doing now is working to ensure that every reasonable opportunity is taken to continue fighting for Mosman's independence.
"Council has been unequivocal in its belief that amalgamation will negatively impact Mosman residents and ratepayers. Our community has repeatedly told us they don't want to merge and we remain committed to representing and protecting their interests.
"The judgment is a complex and multi-layered one, and Council’s legal team is continuing to review the 127-page document. The best way forward for Council is likely to become evident over the next week or so."
The Federal Government has approved $2.1 million to fund 10 local government road upgrades across the Northern Territory under the Black Spot Program.
Local Government Association of Northern Territory (LGANT) President Damien Ryan welcomed the announcement.
“The funding is extremely welcome, and also satisfying is that the 10 projects were awarded to local governments that lodged submissions,” Mayor Ryan said.
“Black Spot project funding targets roads where frequent crashes occur and the funding will contribute to safer roads and fewer accidents.
“Councils are well-placed to identify accident black spots in their regions and it is pleasing that a mixture of municipal and regional councils received funding.
“I encourage all councils to work with their communities to identify roads they can nominate for the 2017-18 funding round.”
The funding has been awarded to City of Darwin, East Arnhem Regional Council, Katharine Town Council, MacDonnell Regional Council, Palmerston City Council and West Daly Regional Council.
The Northern Territory black spot program consultative panel will meet in November to consider nominated roads and recommend priority projects for approval by the Federal Government.