Councillor for the West Tamar

Council Amalgamations

It appears that the issue of council amalgamations has reared its ugly head again, still pushed by the self interest group Tasmanians for Reform (which is backed by the Property Council of Tas).

The issue of bigger is better does not work, and they are overlooking the whole community aspect of what councils are about. Do you as a resident of the West Tamar want decisions about your community been by a group of people who are based in Launceston and have no idea what is going on beyond the CBD? That is what will ultimately happen if we are forced to amalgamate into bigger, inefficient, overly bureaucratic monolithic mega councils.

Further, I do get a bit tired of the 35% rates saving that is constantly trotted out as saving on rates. If anyone actually read the Deloitte report, you would find that it one of the most heavily “qualified” reports based on desktop assumptions in an ideal hypothetical world. The report actually says “As noted above, these results – by their stylised nature – should be considered an initial assessment of the potential benefits of structural reform in Tasmania. While the econometric analysis underpinning the findings is considered robust, there are, nevertheless, a range of simplifying assumptions that have been made (refer to Appendix B for greater detail in this regard). Moreover, the economic benefits of structural reform hinge heavily on the precise design specifications; hence a more detailed modelling exercise should be conducted should reform deliberations be further advanced.” In other words, instead of trotting these projected savings out as fact, further investigation needs to be done, but has TFR done that?? NO!

In actual fact, it has been shown that West Tamar residents would be WORSE off under a forced amalgamation. Quite frankly, most people know that if you give a consultant a brief, they will usually give you the answer you want.

I am all for greater efficiency in Local Government. I believe we can achieve this through a number of ways such as resource sharing and common service providers, NOT by simply redrawing lines on a map. I do not want the West Tamar to loose its unique identity and sense of community.

 

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