Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ministerial statement on mayoral elections

August 6, 2014

Peter Gutwein, Minister for Planning and Local Government

Encouraging Greater Democracy in Tasmania

The Liberal Government will bring on a Bill when Parliament resumes to remove the eligibility requirement for candidates to have completed at least 12 months service as a councillor before standing for the positions of mayor or deputy mayor.

The Liberal Government plans to amend the Local Government Act 1993 to remove the 12 month requirement so that any person who is eligible to be elected as a councillor can also stand for the position of mayor or deputy mayor if they wish.

Candidates obviously need to be elected as a councillor as well as winning the deputy mayoral or mayoral election before they could take on the position. These elections are conducted concurrently.
The current legislation is a classic example of Labor bureaucracy which serves no practical purpose. It prevents qualified people from having the opportunity to put their name forward to serve their community.

This requirement is especially restrictive with recent changes. At the 2014 local government elections, mayors and deputy mayors will be voted in for four-year terms rather than the previous two-year terms as part of new four yearly all-in, all-out local government elections. If the eligibility clause is not removed it effectively means that most people would need to be a councillor for four years, before being eligible to nominate as a candidate for the office of mayor or deputy mayor.

This proposal received support at last month's Local Government Association of Tasmania conference and will bring Tasmania into line with other State jurisdictions and encourages greater democracy with local government. The amendment is planned to be in place before local government elections scheduled for October 2014.

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