The Future of Local Government in Tasmania: Local Government Review

Media Enquiries

Sophie Underwood
PMAT State Director
0407 501 999

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Submission Deadline Details

Future of Local Government Review – Stage 2 Options Paper closed 19 February 2023 at 12 midnight. See details in the ‘Reports’ section. Ensure you comment on both the Options Paper and the Appendix.

See PMAT’S submission here. Please share with your networks.
Our key concerns/issues relate to:

  • A flawed consultation process with a lack of genuine consultation;

  • Councils must retain their role as a Planning Authority, ensuring local representation and accountability; and

  • forced amalgamations.

Removing councils as a Planning Authority and forcing amalgamations could kill Local Government in Tasmania and with it local representation, accountability and core services. It would appear that this is the intent of the Local Government Board. Given the poor track record of both forced amalgamations and the creation of planning panels on the mainland, this is an alarming position.

If amalgamations are to happen in Tasmania it is strongly recommended that the major elements required for successful amalgamations, as outlined in Section 5 of PMAT’s submission be adopted.

Mercury Newspaper Article: "Changes to Councils require care."
PMAT in the Media

Effects of Removing Councils as a Planning Authority in NSW and replacing them with planning panels

A case study of the effects of forced amalgamations on Philip Island, Victoria

  • Philip Island, Victoria, demonstrates the immense devastating financial, social and environmental impacts forced amalgamations can have on island and rural communities. Once a successful stand-alone Council – declining municipal services and rising rates have been the hallmarks of forced amalgamation.

  • Read about Philip Island’s forced amalgamation disturbing case study here and here.

A case study of the effects of the 2016 NSW forced amalgamation program

  • In NSW, small local communities have declared they have been disenfranchised and experienced severe psychological distress due to forced amalgamations.

    Peer-reviewed academic research shows (see below) alarming impacts of the 2016 forced amalgamations on NSW local Councils including reduced efficiency, increased costs for councils by over 11%; significantly increased property rates e.g. Cootamundra-Gundagai increased rates by 53.5%; and forced amalgamations contributed to councils financially failing. For example, NSW’s Central Coast Council is now under administration; with fear other Councils may suffer the same fate.

  • Roadmap for “complex” council demerger revealed, Inside Local Government, 6 February 2023.

  • Recent empirical peer reviewed research in the scholarly literature on the effects of the 2016 NSW forced amalgamation program: Please see here the short summary on the findings of empirical research in the scholarly literature on the effects of the 2016 NSW forced amalgamation program. As outlined in the attached ‘it paints a damning portrait of the outcome of the municipal mergers’.

  • Fiscal outcomes arising from amalgamation: more complex than merely economies of scale by Joseph Drew, Dana McQuestin &Brian Dollery, January 2023.

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