Devonport Mayor Annette Rockliff said Devonport City Council wants to hear and understand all ideas on how local government should look for the region into the future and has no intention to start a fight with its neighbouring councils.
Cr Rockliff said Devonport understands the challenges we all face in local government and respect and admire the way Latrobe, Kentish and Central Coast councils serve their communities.
“What Devonport have put forward is a submission to the State Government’s, Local Government Review outlining what we believe will be best for this region in the long term. Submissions to phase one of the Review are due by next week and all submissions will be publicly available,” Cr Rockliff said.
“Devonport have put forward a model which we believe will result in many benefits such as significant cost savings, improved strategic planning and more consistent and equitable service delivery.
“Existing challenges relating to workforce capacity and digital transformation could be better addressed as could emerging challenges like climate change and increasing poor health and wellbeing outcomes.
“We certainly don’t claim to have all the answers but have put forward our thoughts and ideas on how local government should look into the future and will continue to actively engage in the reform process over the next 18 months.”
Cr Rockliff said whilst any mention of amalgamation always attracts attention, she encouraged people to read Council’s submission on its web site and fully understand all aspects of the proposal.
“We have looked closely at the Review’s terms of reference, addressing all the key points. Our position acknowledges that roles and functions of councils have changed and will continue to do so, but this can’t be considered in isolation to ideas about the optimum size of any council body,” Cr Rockliff said.
“What may have been missed in the social media commentary, critical of the Devonport City Council, is the fact that under this proposal Devonport City Council would actually no longer exist.
“Rather than four Mayors, three GMs and 36 councillors our region of 60,000 people would be served by a single new council with one Mayor, one General Manager and a single organisation.
“Unfortunately, uninformed views of Council’s submission have referred to recent borrowings for LIVING CITY investments, however it should be noted that rental income from Council’s investment properties currently exceeds Council’s total annual interest expense.
“As highlighted in the Auditor General’s most recent report to parliament, Devonport City Council is in a sound financial position, arguably the strongest of any of the region’s councils and would bring a very healthy balance sheet to any new organisation.”
A full copy of Council’s submission to the Tasmanian Government’s Future of Local Government Review can be found at https://www.devonport.tas.gov.au/council/future-of-local-government-review/
A Future of Local Government Review website has been created and contains information regarding the review including research papers and comparative data on each of Tasmania’s 29 Councils.