Election success shows communities are engaged - Presidentís comment

Article image - Election success shows communities are engaged - Presidentís comment Local Government Association Tasmania President, Mayor Doug Chipman

Facing the future with renewed energy to advocate for our communities.

Tasmania’s Local Government elections in October 2018 saw the highest voter turnout (58.39 percent) in more than 20 years and the second highest turnout on record. With 109 newly elected candidates and 14 new mayors, our communities have well and truly showed that they are engaged in local government, they are passionate about local government issues and they are relying on local government to deliver what their local communities need.

Local Government Association Tasmania (LGAT) invested significant energy in raising community awareness about local government elections and encouraging candidates to run. This included a TV and digital media campaign, a suite of information on our website to inform prospective candidates about the roles and expectations of elected members and a number of regional information sessions.

Post-election, we have backed this up with professional development opportunities targeting new councillors and will continue to offer capacity building opportunities throughout the year.

Advocacy, as always, remains a key issue for LGAT in 2019. Our submission to the State Government Budget highlights that, as councils deliver the lion’s share of the services and infrastructure that shape the daily experiences of Tasmanians, our sector needs to be appropriately enabled and resourced to deliver these activities.

In 2019 we are stridently encouraging the State Government for a more strategic and appropriately funded approach to key community issues including waste, planning reform, emergency management and active transport.

LGAT is further seeking direct funding to drive reform and efficiency in our sector, targeting specialist procurement, smart councils and elected member capacity building. We believe that with the right planning and investment our sector is best placed to make our communities more productive, liveable and sustainable.

2019 also brings a focus on review. The State Government’s ‘roots and branches’ review of the Local Government Act 1993 will see much discussion within our sector and the community about what is required in a new legislative framework for Local Government. LGAT will be investing significant time engaging with our members to position councils to best service the needs of future Tasmanian communities in a sustainable way.

At the national level, as the federal election fast approaches, LGAT will join forces with other associations nationally in campaigning to have our collective Local Government Voice heard to restore Financial Assistance Grant funding back to 1 percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

With lots of new faces and new energy in the sector, in 2019 LGAT will work hard in supporting our members, enabling them to better represent their communities and helping them to prosper.