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The Tasmanian Government recognises the need for a careful and considered approach to developing options for local government reform, such as voluntary amalgamations and strategic shared service opportunities. Evidence in other states suggests that some of the successful factors in local government reform includes developing a comprehensive business case and building support for change within councils and communities.
In February 2015, the Minister for Planning and Local Government, the Hon Peter Gutwein MP, met with the mayors, deputy mayors and general managers of Tasmanian councils at regional meetings in Hobart, Ulverstone and Launceston to discuss how the Tasmanian Government can work with local government to build a strong and resilient local government sector and improve the service delivery outcomes for Tasmanian communities.
The Minister established four reform principles that must be met before proposals are considered. Reform proposals must:
The Tasmanian Government continues to support local government reform and has established five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to conduct feasibility studies for 24 of Tasmania’s 29 councils. The MoUs outline the Terms of Reference for each study, joint funding arrangements, and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders. The five studies will consider various reform opportunities for:
Each study will incorporate reliable evidence upon which councils, in close consultation with the communities jointly served by the State Government, can make informed local government reform decisions. The studies represent some of the largest and most thorough examinations of reform options for various groups of councils ever undertaken in the State. They will consider the potential for, and possible savings from voluntary amalgamations, shared services, fee for service and other reform models considered appropriate.
The SGS Greater Hobart: Local Government Reform Final Feasibility Report January 2017 and the KPMG South East Councils Feasibility Study Final Report September 2016 have been finalised. Participating councils will consider outcomes of the studies and consult with their communities. The KPMG Northern Tasmanian Councils Shared Services Study Condensed Report July 2017 has also been released.
Subject to two or more councils requesting the Minister to proceed with an amalgamation, the Minister may appoint a Local Government Board to review the amalgamations proposals, as required under the Local Government Act 1993.
Minister Gutwein's PowerPoint presentation for the regional meetings in February 2015 provides information on the specific issues confronting local government, including demographic, economic, social and environmental challenges. The presentation also includes information about the options available for councils to improve outcomes for ratepayers and meet the challenges of the future.
Prior to the regional meetings, all councils were provided with an information package including a profile for their council and supporting documents.
For further information and any enquiries regarding local government reform please contact the Local Government Division either by telephone on 03 6232 7022 or by email to email@example.com.