Local Government Reforms Review – Tasmanian Times

Media release – Mark Shelton, Minister for Local Government, 22 April 2020

Local Government Legislation Review

Reforms for the Local Government Legislative Framework Review were released today following two years of extensive consultation with the local government sector, stakeholders and the community.

The majority of the proposed 51 Reform Directions consulted on in the Reform Directions Paper will be implemented after receiving broad support from the public, councils and stakeholders.

Only three of the 51 reforms were strongly opposed in the consultation feedback and a decision was made not to progress them. These included:

  • changing the way mayors and deputy mayors are elected;
  • introducing a candidate nomination fee; and
  • establishing Regional Councils.

This holistic legislative review, which commenced in June 2018, has elicited a high degree of interest and engagement with the most recent consultation period receiving almost 800 survey responses and 75 written submissions.

The next step is for Government to develop a new Local Government Bill based on the principles of community engagement, good governance, transparency and accountability, efficiency and effectiveness. The new Bill will support the important role and functions of councils and allow them to best serve their local communities.

The Government also intends to progress approved electoral reforms through a stand-alone Local Government (Elections) Bill, which will streamline provisions only used during elections and ensure that a new Local Government Act will be as concise and user-friendly as possible.

While the Review is continuing to progress, it’s acknowledged that timelines for final drafting, exposure bill consultation and progress through the Parliament will be impacted by the current coronavirus pandemic.

I would like to sincerely thank the local government sector and our community members for the high level of interest and engagement shown to date in the Review.

The approved reforms can be found on the Review’s webpage at www.dpac.tas.gov.au/lgreview.

The Reforms Directions Paper can be found http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/530315/Reform_Directions_Paper_-_July_2019.pdf

Media release – Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Local Government spokesperson, 22 April 2020

Local Government Review

Local Government is a critical level of government for communities. It is the pathway for residents to shape the place they live.

The Approved Reforms for the Local Government Legislative Framework Review, released today, provide for reforms that, in large part, are very welcome.

The Greens have long called for reforms to the General-Manager’s roll, including that only citizens should have the right to vote and that the Tasmanian Electoral Commission administer the process. We are very pleased these have been included in the approved reforms.

We are also pleased to see that councils will be required to introduce caretaker provisions during an election period, which reduces the potential for council powers or resources to be improperly used by candidates.

Some decisions, such as the choice not to pursue mandatory voting, are disappointing.

Other matters, such as the changes to community consultation requirements, we need to see more detail on before forming a view. We will provide feedback when we see the Draft Bill.

We believe, as a whole, the reforms released today will strengthen the local government sector.

We commend the Local Government Division for the consultation process. The consultation was genuine, accessible and had well-designed means for input.

The consultation process has led to more robust outcomes and community buy-in and we encourage the government to adopt this approach for other significant proposals. It stands in stark contrast with how the Major Projects legislation is being handled at the moment.

The proposed reforms, despite some omissions, will improve our democracy, and we look forward to working constructively towards their implementation.

No Labor statement has yet been released on this issue.

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