Minister Addresses LGAT Conference

Minister Addresses LGAT Conference

Tasmania Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Gutwein

LGAT (Local Government Association Of Tasmania) Conference

Victor P Taffa

Local Government must be efficient and able to deliver for ratepayers in order to make Tasmania the best place in the country to live, work, invest and raise a family, Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Gutwein said.

“I was pleased to address the annual LGAT conference today where I highlighted the importance of leadership and the need for the sector to govern from the perspective of rate-payers’ best interests.” Mr. Gutwein said.

“Local government plays a very important role, and those in the community rightfully expect those who hold leadership positions to fulfil these roles with the community’s best interests at heart.”

“It is clear that ineffective and dysfunctional governance in some councils has drawn significant public attention and comment over the past 12 months, and I have called on local government leaders to put the community ahead of internal conflicts.”

 

“The targeted review of the Local Government Act will play a role in improving governance framework, and I look forward to input from LGAT in relation to options to address the issues identified in the recent Discussion Paper and submissions on it.” Mr. Gutwein said.

“The process of examining the feasibility of local government resource sharing and amalgamation is progressing and will be completed soon, and it’s important that we take its findings seriously in light of the significant resources used to facilitate this process.”

“I have also addressed issues regarding Tasmania’s water and sewerage infrastructure, specifically the request from TasWater and the Councils for a $1.8 Billion investment program to address the performance issues in the sector.”

That proposal was based on a commitment of $400 Million over the decade from the State and Federal Governments, and would see the Councils cap returns from TasWater. Under that plan, councils would continue to benefit from around $300 Million in returns over the period, while retaining around $80 Million within TasWater for reinvestment.

“In the absence of a Federal Government commitment and as a result of losing $500 Million in GST revenue, the State Government is not in a position to bridge that $400 Million gap over the 10 year period proposed.” Mr. Gutwein said.

“It is disappointing that over the 8 years since the water and sewerage reform process began, many of these issues that confronted the system back in 2008 still remain, notwithstanding prices increasing by around 8 % annually over that period.”

Local government, as the level of Government responsible for water and sewerage and owners of TasWater, must be prepared to do more to address this issue. The State Government too will play its part because well-performing water and sewerage infrastructure supports public health, Tasmania’s brand and our economy.

“We will continue to work with local government to find a solution that enables the investment needed whilst ensuring that price increases are modest and affordable.” Mr. Gutwein said.