Progressing local government reform in Tasmania

Roger Jaensch,Minister for Local Government and Planning

Earlier this year, the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Committee (PESRAC) handed down its final report recommending that the Tasmanian Parliament sponsor a process to drive structural reform of Tasmania’s local government sector.

To achieve this, it recommended the establishment of an independent panel, with agreed terms of reference, and a commitment to implementing its recommendations without material modification. We accepted PESRAC’s recommendations in full.

Since the swearing-in of the new Government, I have convened three meetings with representatives from Labor and the Greens, and the Independent Member for Clark, to seek cross-party support for the PESRAC recommendations.

The approach the Government took was one of collaboration in the spirit of the PESRAC report: to set politics aside, with no pre-determined outcome, to deliver the reforms Tasmania needs.

Unfortunately, after our third meeting last week, it has become clear that the non-government members and parties are not prepared to commit to the process recommended by PESRAC, and the Government does not believe that further discussion will change their views.

The Tasmanian community rightly expects that we will move swiftly to implement PESRAC’s recommendations to progress our State’s recovery and we cannot let this important work be stalled by politics.

That’s why the Government will now engage directly with the local government sector, local communities, and users of local government services to develop a program of agreed reforms to address the issues identified in the PESRAC report.

The Government acknowledges the participation of the non-government members, who have expressed support for local government reform. I hope this support will continue.

Removing the politics would have made this easier. Now it will be harder, but it’s no less important and Tasmanians can trust us to see it through.

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