VOTING in local government elections will be compulsory, but Tasmanians will have an extra year to get used to the idea, under reforms proposed by Local Government Minister Bryan Green.
This year's scheduled local government elections would be postponed for 12 months until October 2014, winning some incumbents an extra year in office.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said he supported the reforms, but thought the election should still be held this year.
``It will mean you have people in office _ including myself _ who were elected for a specific term staying longer than that,'' Alderman van Zetten said.
```I would have preferred to go to the vote in October, and for it to be stated that it was a two-1year term, and then all-in all-out in 2015.''
Mr Green said the vote was delayed to give the Australian Electoral System time to prepare for compulsory voting, and to allow for some ``clear air'' between the federal election in September this year and the state election next March.
He said the move for compulsory postal voting had been decided after extensive consultation with local government and would strengthen Tasmania's democracy.
Only about half of those eligible to vote in the Launceston City Council election do so.
Local Government Association president Barry Easther said compulsory voting was not popular with all councils, but it was preferable to the widely criticised opt-out compulsory voting model. Mr Easther said there was a risk that political parties would see compulsory voting as a chance to politicise local government, and urged parties not to stand candidates.
The Greens already run candidates in some areas and support the proposed reforms.
Pembroke Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin said the Liberal Party remained opposed to compulsory voting, but would consider the legislation.
The proposed reforms would also stretch the mayoral and deputy mayoral terms from two years to four, ditch the rotating terms for a whole-of-council election every four years and ban councillors from running for any other level of government.
Mr Green said he expected the legislation would pass the lower house by June.