Friday, March 1, 2024

Shadow LG Minister slams Council amalgamations ‘by stealth’

Shadow Minister for Local Government, Luke Edmunds MLC says Minister Nic Street’s “silence about his plans to forcibly amalgamate Tasmania’s local councils by stealth has become deafening”.

“Each day that goes by until the Minister rules out forcing councils to amalgamate without proper consultation or parliamentary process increases massive levels of doubt being felt in the community about the security of local jobs and services,” said Mr Edmunds.

“Minister Street cannot be the judge, jury and literal executioner of local councils.

“He must respect the Tasmanian Parliament and commit to bringing his plan for forced amalgamations to both houses for proper review.”

Mr Edmunds said local government provides secure, local jobs which are a massive benefit to local communities and the state as a whole.

“Labor will continue to stand up for Tasmanians communities and the workforces of local councils, because it is clear the Liberals will not,” he said.

Minister Street has just completed a second round of visits and consultation with Tasmanian councils to update mayors and councillors on the state’s ongoing local government review.

“I’ve found mayors, councils and staff are well-aware of the Review and strongly engaged in its work – unlike Mr Edmunds,” he said.

“I look forward to receiving the Board delivering its stage two report to me at the end of the month and moving forward with these important reforms.”

Mr Edmunds should also probably have a read of his factional ally Mr Winter’s comments, when, as then-Kingborough Mayor, Mr Winter supported local government reform saying “after five years, it’s time to admit Tasmania’s voluntary amalgamation policy has failed”* and “my personal view is 29 councils is probably about 20 too many.”**

“Typically, Labor have already made their minds up before the process has been allowed to finish. They will just oppose for opposition’s sake – they’re anti-everything,” Minister Street said.

*Dean Winter, Mercury 17 July, 2020  “Mounting deficits should prompt government action on council amalgamations, says Mayor.”
**Dean Winter Mercury 2 January, 2019 “Survey reveals Tasmanians think 29 councils is too many – and some mayors agree.”

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