Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Have your say on the future

A GREAT opportunity exists for everyone to have their say on the future shape of local government in southern Tasmania. An independent panel was established by the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority and funded by the Federal Government to review the structure, and develop options for improving the
performance, of local government. The panel has called for public submissions, commissioned surveys and spoken with mayors and general managers, political parties and peak organisations.

Last night I attended an elected members session at the Hobart Town Hall which worked through the panel's recently released options paper. This session was led by the three expert panellists - Jude Munro, Saul Eslake and Stephen Hains.

The major thrust of the options paper is "structural options" to improve local government. The four options are: Status quo (12 councils) with shared services; Single southern council; Greater Hobart council (with minimal changes to rural councils); and Reducing the 12 southern councils to five.

On first impressions, the fourth option stands out as one that could bring about improved efficiencies and reduced duplication. This view was in the minority at my table last night, with my fellow rural councillors seeming to prefer the Greater Hobart model (Option 3).

What's your opinion? Head over to the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority website and check out the proposals for yourself. The expert panel is seeking feedback and comments via the same website and all these will be considered before the final report is written.

 Option 4: Reducing 12 councils to five.

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