Release of Independent Panel report

Media Release

The Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority (STCA), has received the final report of the Independent Panel looking into future options for Local Government in Southern Tasmania.

“The STCA Board sees the recommendations in this report as a starting point for a discussion with elected members of the 12 Councils and the community of Southern Tasmania about the future of Local Government in our region.” said Damon Thomas, newly appointed Chair of the STCA.

“If local government is to change it needs to do so for the right reasons, that benefit the region and the people who live and visit here.” he said.

“Elected members know that there are many people in our communities that are concerned with the rising cost of living. Arguments based on reductions in costs, including reducing council rates, are often very compelling when people are doing it tough. People want value for money for their rates. This is an important consideration for councils, but not the only one if we are going to change the structure of local government in Southern Tasmania.”

“The Independent Panel’s Report gives us a series of recommendations that challenge us to build a stronger local government, with more accountability and more sustainability, while recognising the critical and complex role that local governments play in our communities.” said Alderman Thomas.

The report has recommended the creation of a Greater Hobart, bringing together the urban areas of Hobart, Glenorchy, Clarence, Brighton and Kingborough. It also recognises the different role that urban and rural councils play in their communities. It clearly recognises the interdependent relationship between the smaller, rural councils and the urban centre.

The panel has also made recommendations about full council elections every four years, compulsory voting and a removal of the requirement for mayors to have previously served in local government.

“The Independent Panel did not just look at the issue of Council amalgamation, it looked at how to make a better local government in Southern Tasmania. It looked at governance issues, the issue of the skills of elected members and community engagement. There are a lot of things in this report for elected members to discuss with their councils, their communities and with each other.” said Ald Thomas.