The Australian Services Union has warned the government not to introduce rate pegging as part of its review of the local government sector, arguing councils need autonomy in accruing revenue.
The state government started a review of local government's legislative framework last year and received 382 submissions from the community, councils, businesses and a range of representative groups.
The union has warned the government against considering any form of rate caps as part of the review as it would threaten the viability of service delivery, put jobs at risk, and cause local businesses to suffer from reduced spending by councils.
TasCOSS chief executive Kym Goodes in a submission to the review said an updated Local Government Act should include a commitment to reduction of social disadvantage and a framework to deliver land at an affordable cost to people.
She said legislation should seek to remove barriers to affordable housing and promote it where possible the mechanisms in land use planning to encourage affordable housing developments. "It's important that Tasmanian planning processes facilitate the provision of a range of affordable housing types for all ages, as well as of social housing stock for special needs groups, in convenient, sustainable locations," Ms Goodes said.
She said it was important local government brought services closer to people, including the establishment of basic services in new residential areas.
Property Council of Australia state executive director Brian Wightman said the local government sector needed structural reform to allow councils to become more financially independent from external funding sources.
"The level of financial dependence by councils on state and federal governments is substantially affected by structural inefficiencies," he said.
Further consultation on the review will start in the middle of this year.
Council amalgamations or changes to municipal boundaries will not be part of the review though will consider future legislative flexibility for this to occur.
Local Minister Minister Peter Gutwein said initial public consultation on the review highlighted a desire for greater transparency and accountability from councils, increased engagement with local communities, and minimisation of red tape.
He said the government would draft legislation for consultation later this year with a view to introduce a bill to Parliament next year.