Tassie amalgamation call ‘misguided’ says LGAT

By Rob O’Brien
The Local Government Associationof Tasmania (LGAT) has slammed a peak industry body’s proposal of forced amalgamations as ‘misguided’.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) chairman Andrew Scobie suggested forced amalgamations at the launching of the TCCI’s policy checklist recently.

But the Local Government Association of Tasmania said the comments were disruptive and lacked substance.

“In calling for stability, his proposals have the capacity to disrupt communities and local service delivery for years to come,” said LGAT President Mike Gaffney.

“At a time when councils are undergoing the biggest reform in 15 years with the separation of water and sewerage, here comes a group that wants to create even more disruption.”

In its policy checklist, the TCCI argued that Tasmania’s local government system was financially unsustainable but Cr Gaffney said that the comments ignored the hard work done by local governments to reform.

“Long-term financial planning and improved asset management will provide greater certainty to councils and their ratepayers,” he said.

“Councils are already working closely together to effect efficiencies in the operations through the sharing of resources, systems and processes.

“At least two councils are discussing a voluntary merger and two others have opted to share the services of a General Manager. Local government is doing its bit to improve the lot for all Tasmanians.”

Cr Gaffney said the suggestion that councils should not be able to choose with whom they amalgamate is patronising and insulting.

“Communities of interest and shared ideals and values are obviously not of concern to the TCCI.”

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