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Collaborative Local Government Reform Process Abandoned by Jaensch

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 23 September 2021

Tags: Local Government, Democracy

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Local Government spokesperson

Minister Jaensch’s announcement he is dismantling collaborative, cross-party local government reform discussions is a disgusting display of base politics. His intentions from the outset were clearly to push ahead with his own amalgamation agenda and expect Labor, the Greens and Independent Kristie Johnston to rubber stamp it.

Labor’s Anita Dow, Independent Kristie Johnston and myself are two ex-mayors and an ex-councillor respectively. We have a lot of experience to bring to the table.

The Greens, Labor and Ms Johnston were united in seeking a genuine, open process that could identify improvements to local government, without a predetermined outcome. That’s clearly not what Mr Jaensch wanted. 

Mr Jaensch demanded cross-bench MPs and opposition parties be bound to voting - without modification - on the outcomes of an un-elected local government reform panel’s recommendations. It was a ludicrous, undemocratic demand that would have failed the people we represent. 

It is impossible for any elected member to sign up to voting for a Bill we haven’t seen. 

When an elegant solution to this sticking point was identified at our last meeting, Minister Jaensch’s interest in pursuing a cross-party reform process evaporated. 

The Greens understand well the huge social, environmental, resourcing and democratic challenges facing the local government sector this coming century. We were working in good faith with Minister Jaensch, Labor and Ms Johnston to establish an independent, highly consultative and genuine process to find opportunities to improve local government.

The only person at the table being deceptive and duplicitous has been Minister Jaensch. 

The Greens were, and continue to be, open to engaging in good faith discussions about strengthening the resourcing, public participation and resilience of local government. We’ve signed up to represent the diversity of views on local government reform, and seek to find solutions that are in the best interests of all Tasmanians – not to rubber stamp the Liberals’ predetermined agenda.