Fast track open for new mayors

Launceston deputy mayor Jeremy Ball
Launceston deputy mayor Jeremy Ball

TASMANIAN councils have axed the one year "work experience" period for new councillors, paving the way for a first time councillor to become mayor.

In a close vote of 25 in favour and 22 opposed at the Local Government Association of Tasmania general meeting yesterday, the West Tamar Council motion to seek the state government amend the Local Government Act to get rid of the one year experience requirement, finally got over the line.

The motion had gone before LGAT in past years but had been defeated.

The change, which will allow both a first time mayor and deputy mayor, brings Tasmania in line with the rest of the country.

Launceston City Council narrowly voted to keep the requirement, at their meeting last week.

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Ball, who attended the general meeting in place of Mayor Albert van Zetten, said he was ambivalent about the decision.

"It does seem a long time to wait to seek that job if you were after it - since previously it was 12 months for a two-year term and now its a four-year term," Alderman Ball said.

"However my concern is that we may see people who only want the top job of mayor and that's not what council is about, so I don't believe they would last long in local government."

People had argued that you needed someone with industry or business acumen to be able to run the council but that's the job of the general manager, he said.

West Tamar Mayor Barry Easther said it was a good decision that would open up the field of potential candidates.