Report on council boundaries in Northern Tasmania

Report on council boundaries in Northern Tasmania

Launceston City Council has praised a review of Local Government boundaries by a group of Southern Tasmanian councils, and will commission its own report into boundaries in the north of the state.

The move also follows a survey commissioned by Tasmanians for Reform that suggests 73 percent of Tasmanians believe there is a need to merge Councils.

Launceston City Council is advocating for 'a sensible conversation' about the future of Local Government in Tasmania.

General Manager Robert Dobrzynski said amalgamations may not be the answer, but a report into boundaries was necessary to ensure Northern Tasmanian Councils were part of the debate.

"It is not just about reducing rates, it is about working more efficiently as Councils so we can have a plan for the whole of Tasmania."

Mr Dobrzynski said the report could also explore community expectations of Local Government, how a restructured Local Government sector could still be representative, and what benefits and disadvantages it would provide.

He said it was no longer feasible for Northern Tasmanian Councils to maintain the status quo.

"In light of the major review into Local Government structure by the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority and the financial challenges facing the State Government, it is appropriate that Northern Tasmanian councils explore the continuing relevance of existing structures.

"The problem is that everyone jumps to the end result, which is amalgamation. We shouldn't be focused on amalgamation. We should be focused on what will ensure Local Government in Tasmania is relevant to a contemporary society, and from that determine what the most appropriate structures are."

The Tasmanians for Reform survey, conducted by market research company EMRS, suggests 73 percent of the community believe Councils will save money if they merge, 75 percent think 29 Tasmanian councils is too many, and 79 percent believe there are too many Councillors and Aldermen.

"What the independent EMRS survey shows is with nearly three-quarters of Tasmanians supporting Council mergers, the Tasmanian community has made up its mind on the issue and simply wants decision-makers to get on with the job," Tasmanians for Reform Chairperson, Mary Massina, said.

"On every indicator – numbers of councils, numbers of elected officials, benefits from mergers and the need for mergers – an overwhelming majority just say 'do it'. These results reflect the community's attitude and make the case for Local Government reform simply too compelling to ignore."