Rosalie Woodruff MP | Acting Greens Leader
The Greens welcome the State Government's decision to rule out any forced amalgamation of local councils. The Government shouldn’t drop the ball at this point, and needs to keep working on common sense reforms to keep councils sustainable.
Forcing a change to democratic representation in local government, against the majority view of a community, was always going to be resisted - and rightly so. Ruling out forced mergers is a fairly unsurprising - though overdue - step from the Premier considering the widespread backlash to his approach.
Tasmanians value their communities in all their diversities. People were understandably concerned about the loss of local voices by pushing smaller councils under the umbrella of bigger ones. Having councillors who are connected to, and understand, the community they represent is deeply important to most Tasmanians.
The value of strong local communities has been writ large in the response to bushfires and Covid in recent years. There is important work to be done to ensure councils are in a position to increase support for community resilience, as well as delivering other essential services at rates everyone can afford.
The future sustainability of Local Government, through these reforms, is in significant part now in the hands of the Liberals.
Communities and the Local Government Board have already identified many issues that can be improved without resorting to forced mergers. We encourage the Minister to commit whatever support is needed to make these improvements a reality.