This piece is on behalf of myself, a Kingborough Councillor.  It does not represent, or seek to represent, the views of Kingborough Council.

 

Huon Valley Council’s amateurish approach to voluntary amalgamation discussions shows it has been making poor decisions.

Huon Valley residents already pay more rates for less services than their neighbours at Kingborough, yet their Council chose not to investigate whether amalgamations could lead to a better outcome.

Huon Valley Council’s Mayor was recently forced to explain a Council amalgamation resolution so incomprehensible even he didn’t even understand it.

"We discussed (amalgamations) at our last Council meeting on the 24th of June. We had an invitation from Kingborough Council along with a number of other Councils to look at approaching the State Government to have further discussions on how we might look at Local Government reform.

"The Council did pass some resolutions in that regard, that it would look at further discussions as long as those discussions took place on the basis of Council’s previous resolutions.

"Now, those resolutions are somewhat unclear to me, but what they’re really saying is that we’re happy to look at reform and boundary adjustments – and other types of reform – but voluntary amalgamations is not on Huon Valley Council’s agenda."

-        Mayor Peter Coad, 30 June, ABC Local Radio Southern Drive

Essentially, the Mayor was trying to explain that Huon Valley Council had passed a resolution saying it agreed to investigate local government reform so long as doing that didn’t conflict with its previous resolution not to fully investigate local government reform.

Given the Local Government Minister clearly believes Huon Valley Council is not operating effectively as an organisation or decision maker, he should immediately order a review into amalgamation options between the Kingborough and Huon Valley municipalities as part of local government reform discussions.

Kingborough Council has already voted to support such a review.

Options for amalgamation between Huon Valley Council, including resource sharing, boundary adjustments and full amalgamation need to be assessed in conjunction with the work likely to be done looking at options across Glenorchy, Clarence, Hobart and Kingborough.

It is highly unlikely our current model with highly arbitrary boundaries between Hobart, Kingborough and the Huon Valley is the optimum model for local government in 2015. 

If this local government reform process is to be a success, we need to ensure we're looking at all the options, and that includes Huon Valley Council.