LGAT Submission - Future of Local Government Review Final Report

Published 8th March 2024

After extensive engagement with our sector, we have provided our feedback on the 37 recommendations put forward by the Local Government Board in their final report on the Future of Local Government Review.

While we support many of the recommendations, we seek further clarification or want more engagement with the local government sector across multiple items. This includes:

  • Recommendations 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 – Mandatory shared services. A mandated unilateral approach fails to recognise that councils have developed processes based on their unique understanding of their community that may not be easily addressed or recognised via a forced shared service model. Many councils have expressed a preference for a voluntary opt-in approach which would allow flexibility to partner with each other in response to demand. We request further consultation with the sector to better understand what the immediate, mid and long-term opportunities are.
  • Recommendation 30 – Review of strategic financial and asset management planning documentation. This is an ambitious task and needs to be considered as a long-term project that must be sufficiently resourced and funded. We’ve recommended that the scope should be aimed at simplifying and streamlining the obligations of councils.

We have also provided in-principle support to Recommendation 2 – The implementation of a Local Government Charter. As we identified in our 2024 State Election Priorities Statement, this Charter should be accompanied by a new partnership agreement between local and State governments. It offers an opportunity to define our shared responsibilities for public service outcomes, principles for engagement, and the obligations of each when delivering community services and legislative responsibilities.

We have not supported Recommendation 8 – That the Local Government Board develop a formal amalgamation proposal and put it to a community vote. We believe that this recommendation invites potential conflict in situations where one council area votes for amalgamation when their neighbour is against it or has not voted.

Delivering on the proposed recommendations will require additional resourcing not only within the Office of Local Government but will also impact the resources of Tasmanian councils and LGAT. Appropriate resources will be needed to ensure timely and efficient implementation of any recommendations.

We’ve also highlighted that the timelines identified in the final report are quite optimistic and we recommend that these timelines should be reviewed and altered to be more realistic and capable of being achieved.

We look forward to continued engagement on the proposed recommendations to ensure a sustainable and effective local government sector into the future.

Read our full submission.