The local government elections later this month have opened up healthy debate within our communities, but some of the debate has erred towards unhealthy.
City of Launceston candidates have been warned by council about breaching Launceston Interim Planning Scheme regulations after some erected more than one sign per property.
Indeed, Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive Katrena Stephenson said this level of government was “...the sphere of government that is closest to communities. It makes decisions regarding local communities and shapes them for the future”.
At last week’s City of Launceston mayoral forum six people vying for the top job talked about creating a “better Launceston” through teamwork, leadership and innovation, marrying business desires with the city’s heritage values and liveability for its residents.
On the other side of the debate, candidates have thrown their hats in the ring because they think they can do better than those before them.
City of Launceston mayor hopeful Alan Harris made it personal when he said “if you can't achieve what you want in eight years then it's time to step aside and let someone else have a go”, while Dorset mayoral candidate Wendy McLennan said “the major thing is community consultation, that’s what’s been lacking”.
In Ms Stephenson’s words: “because local government is smaller, they’re hearing why communities are important, they’re able to advocate for their local communities and deliver local services and infrastructure”.
Local government elections are a chance for voters to “be a secret hero” and have a say in the future of their region, according to the Tasmanian Electoral Commission.
However, voters need to know they are considering all options fairly to make the decision on who to vote for.