The future of Local Government
in Southern Tasmania

The last few decades have seen a lot of debate about the number and size of Councils in Tasmania. The Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority (STCA) has initiated a project to look at the practical options for change to the structure of local government in Southern Tasmania.

“With funding support from the Federal Government’s Local Government Reform Fund, we have appointed an independent panel to work through the issue of what would be the best structure for local government in Southern Tasmania in the future.” said Adriana Taylor, Mayor of Glenorchy and the Chair of the STCA committee guiding the project.

“Every time council reform is brought up the immediate response is ‘amalgamation’, but when amalgamation was looked at for Glamorgan Spring Bay and Break O’Day Councils the local government Board advised against it. We need to have a fresh look at what the real options are.” said Ald Taylor.

“Local government is a major employer, a major player in managing the natural and built environments and in a broad range of social and economic development activities.

“We need to ensure that we have an efficient local government that is still accessible and responsive to the needs of local communities. We want to ensure that local government remains close to the communities it serves.” said Ald Taylor.

The independent expert panel that will develop the options report is made up of Jude Munro, Saul Eslake and Stephen Hains.

Jude Munro has extensive local government experience across a number of States, holding CEO positions at the St Kilda, Mooreland and Adelaide Councils, and most recently as Chief Executive Officer of the Brisbane City Council, the largest local government in Australia with a budget of $3.2 billion and 10,000 employees, serving a population of 1.1 million people.

She is currently Chairman of Queensland Urban Utilities, Australia’s fourth largest water distributor-retailer, a Director of Uniting Care Queensland and Airservices Australia and a member of the Prime Minister’s Expert Panel on Cities.

Saul Eslake is a widely recognised and respected economist and forthright public commentator with a keen interest and ongoing involvement in Tasmania. Saul was the Chief Economist of ANZ and is currently a member of the Federal Government’s National Housing Supply Council, Chair of the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board, and a non-executive director of Hydro Tasmania.

Stephen Hains was until recently City Manager of the City of Salisbury in South Australia. He has also held various positions in the South Australian Government, including Chief Executive of the Department of Business, Manufacturing and Trade, Chairman of the South Australian Planning Commission and Director of Planning in the Department of Environment and Planning.

“We believe that this expert panel brings a wealth of experience and an understanding of the issues that we need to address in this review.” said Adriana Taylor.

“The independent expert panel will listen to the issues that the community and local government currently have and develop recommendations that will ensure that local government can continue to make a significant contribution to the economic, environmental and social well being of Southern Tasmania,” said Ald Taylor.

“Our job is to come up with options for the future of Local Government in Southern Tasmania.” said Ms Munro, Chair of the independent expert panel.

“We have already started the process of gathering information and initiated a survey of all 120 elected members in Southern Tasmania as well as including a number of basic questions on the future of Local Government in the STCA’s community survey which is currently being conducted.”

“We have also held initial discussions with General Managers and Mayors of the Southern Councils. Most importantly, we need to get an understanding of the communities views and have commenced a process to receive public submissions on the specific issues that we have been asked to look at.

“We would encourage all those who have an interest in the future of local government and Southern Tasmania to participate in the process. ” said Ms Munro.

“We want to find out from the community what is good about the current system of local government, why change is needed — if indeed it is, what changes need to happen and what structure would best allow those changes to occur.” said Ms Munro.