The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) has backed a recommendation from the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) to sponsor a process to drive structural reform of the state’s local government sector.
LGAT President and Mayor of West Tamar, Christina Holmdahl said as the level of government closest to communities, local government supported a reform process that delivered change in the best interests of Tasmanian communities.
“In order that community voices are heard, a reform process must be collaborative with council and communities. It must work to understand what councils are delivering well, the challenges they face and importantly, take the time to understand the community’s needs,” she said.
She said the LGAT welcomed genuine discussion and collaboration around a changed approach to local government reform.
“We know from other states that successful reform must be community-led. Each community’s challenges and strengths have to be understood to identify the right services for them now and into the future” Mayor Holmdahl continued.
“Bigger is not always better. Reform should focus on delivering what communities need in a sustainable way, allowing for local innovation and solutions.”
She said the significant work undertaken as part of the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s 21st Century Councils Project had already shown significant sectoral support for reforms that leverage local democracy, increase inter-council collaboration to drive improvements, consistency and sustainability.
“Councils are place-shapers who drive most people’s attachment to, and satisfaction with, the area in which they live” said Mayor Holmdahl.
“The experience of COVID-19 has shown the strong links between community members and their council and the important role councils are already playing in driving community-led recovery,” she said.
“LGAT has a strong history on working collaboratively with State Government to enable local government to best serve the needs of our communities. I look forward to seeing this same approach as we work together to drive community-led recovery in Tasmania.”