Local Government Review

Local Government Review

The Tasmanian Government and the Local Government Board are undertaking a review of the role, function and design of local government in Tasmania.

The Board consists of the Hon Sue Smith AM (Chair), Ric De Santi, Paul West, the Hon Pam Allan, Kym Goodes and Mathew Healy. You can read their terms of reference here.

The review is currently underway, and is a fantastic opportunity for our sector to demonstrate what councils are delivering well, the challenges they face and importantly what opportunities exist to further enhance the value that councils provide to their communities.

The review has three, six-month stages:

  • Stage 1 – community engagement, evidence, and fact-finding (January–June 2022) – COMPLETE
  • Stage 2 – analysing options (July–December 2022) – extended until March 2023 – COMPLETE
  • Stage 3 – recommending solutions (March–June 2023) – extended until October 2023 – COMPLETE.

During Stage 1, we collected feedback via an online submissions portal, a conversation toolkit and a series of regional workshops.

During Stage 2, we consulted further with our sector and prepared a submission in response to the Options Paper.

During Stage 3, we obtained funding from the State Government for a consultant to run engagement sessions with the sector. The feedback provided during those sessions helped inform our submission.

The final report was released by the Local Government Board and submissions were due at the end of February 2024. On behalf of the sector, we provided a response to all 37 recommendations.

We are committed to understanding the views and future aspirations of our member councils and representing them in the different stages of this review.

To date, LGAT has successfully advocated for a 3-month extension to Stage 2 to allow councils and the community sufficient time to respond and most recently a 6-week extension to the period councils had to respond to the scenarios presented in the Stage 2 Interim Report.

For more information on the review, please go to the Future of Local Government Review website.

The Stage 2 Interim Report (detailed below) informs the third and final stage of the Review. This will see the Local Government Board work closely with councils and communities to develop a final package of reform recommendations.

After approving an extension to the timeline following successful advocacy by LGAT, the Board welcomed comments on all aspects of the Interim Report until 2 August 2023. Specifically, the Board was interested in ideas about how local government should be structured to best serve local communities.

LGAT is working to support councils in achieving the best outcomes for their communities. We are working with the Local Government Board to make sure that engagement with and between councils is equitable and robust.

You can access the Community Catchment Information Packs here.


LGAT offered Elected Representatives and council staff the opportunity to provide feedback to the Board by running workshops throughout June 2023.

Each workshop was focused on the scenarios presented by the Local Government Board for each community catchment and also discussed what alternative options should be considered.

Thirty-two sessions were held, both face-to-face and online, with over 620 registrations. The feedback was distributed in July for councils to consider when determining its formal position.


The above engagement helped inform our submission to the Board which focuses on matters that are shared across the sector and the opportunities available to ensure local government is robust and capable moving forward.

We highlighted recommendations for the Board across the following key areas:

  • Financial sustainability
  • Infrastructure contributions and fair road funding
  • Best-practice procurement
  • Workforce improvements to support career development and shared services
  • Climate change
  • Emergency management and recovery
  • Health and wellbeing.

Read our full submission here.

On 14 December 2022, the Local Government Board published an Options Paper, which discusses a package of 33 potential reforms that the Board believes may deliver improved outcomes for both local government and communities in Tasmania.

In developing these options the Board also heard about a range of broader structural challenges many councils are facing, so are seeking feedback on three potential structural reform pathways:

  1. Significant (mandated) sharing and consolidation of services

    Under this option, certain local government functions and services would be consolidated and centralised at the sub-regional, regional, or state-wide scale, where there are clear efficiency and effectiveness benefits in doing so. Current local government areas would be largely – if not entirely - preserved, but councils would be required to participate in formalised and consistent shared services arrangements for identified functions.

  2. Significant boundary consolidation to achieve fewer larger councils

    Under this option the administrative boundaries of Tasmania’s current 29 LGAs would be ‘redrawn’, and a series of new, larger LGAs established. New councils would be established to represent and deliver services to these LGAs.

  3. A 'hybrid' model combining both service and boundary consolidation

    This would involve some boundary changes (though less than under option two), and some service consolidation where clear benefits can be identified.

On 31 March 2023, the Local Government Board published its Stage 2 Interim Report. The report details the outcomes of the Board’s work since July 2022 to identify, develop, test, and refined a suite of reform options for Tasmania’s local government sector.

The Board’s view is that there needs to be a change in the model to meet the growing demands, complexity and sustainability challenges. To achieve this it believes that a mix of consolidation and shared services is needed. It then proposes a set of ‘community catchments’ to further conversation about how groups of councils may or may not come together.

Councils shape the places where we live.

They play a defining role in fostering communities, where people and places are deeply connected to the work which local government does.

The role of councils has changed significantly over the years, along with community expectations of what services a council should provide.

Once focused on property services, councils now provide more services to people.

In 2019, LGAT and Tasmanian councils initiated a project known as 21st Century Councils to lead the reform of our sector.

The benefits associated with the project can be grouped into one of three categories:

  1. Economies of scale – maximising the use of resources and/or services at the least cost
  2. Economies of scope – creating a more expansive range/higher quality of services/resources
  3. Strategic capacity – having the skills and resources needed to act as high-capacity organisations that manage complex and sometimes unexpected change.

We ran a project called 21st Century Councils with the sector, which started with addressing some key questions:

  1. What are the current issues/weaknesses in delivering local government services?
  2. How could we address these?
  3. What outcomes do we need to achieve?
  4. What reforms could or should happen to achieve those outcomes?

To work towards addressing these questions, we undertook the following work:

  1. reviewed the history of local government reform and what we can learn (2019) [PDF]
  2. run a series of ‘roundtable conversations' with the Local Government sector (2020) [PDF]
  3. interviewed key external stakeholders (2020) [PDF].