TCCI calls for reduction of Tasmanian councils

The state’s chief business body is ordering a reduction of the state’s 29 councils to three in an effort to reduce duplication of services and save money.

The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry released its report on local government on Monday which included a proposal to reduce councils to the state’s three key regions and introduce more transparent and timely performance measures for the councils.

TCCI chief executive Michael Bailey said there was systematic overgovernance at a municipal level and duplication of services potentially cost ratepayers millions each year.

“We have 4000 local government employees, 23,000 State Government employees and just under 3500 Commonwealth Government employees, which equates to one employee for every 16 people or one employee for every small business in the entire state,” he said.

“The time has come for Tasmania to review its antiquated and inefficient local government sector and bring it in line with modern best practice.

“The days are long gone when every town needed a local council in Tasmania.”

The report highlights the state Auditor-General’s Local Government Performance Report for 2004 – 2014 which showed the sector had returned underlying deficits for the last seven years.

It said seven councils had no long-term financial management plans and nine councils were yet to adopt long-term financial and asset management plans.

The report said the same number of councils did not have a published strategic plan as required by law.