The Tasmanian Government says it is moving ahead with local government reforms. 

Earlier this year, Tasmania’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Committee (PESRAC) handed down its final report recommending that the Tasmanian Parliament sponsor a process to drive structural reform of Tasmania’s local government sector.

It called for the establishment of an independent panel, and a commitment to implementing its recommendations without modification, which the State Government says it accepted. 

Roger Jaensch, Minister for Local Government and Planning, claims to have convened three meetings with representatives from Labor and the Greens, and the Independent Member for Clark, to seek cross-party support for the PESRAC recommendations.

“Unfortunately, after our third meeting last week, it has become clear that the non-government members and parties are not prepared to commit to the process recommended by PESRAC, and the Government does not believe that further discussion will change their views,” the Minister said this week.

“The Tasmanian community rightly expects that we will move swiftly to implement PESRAC’s recommendations to progress our State’s recovery and we cannot let this important work be stalled by politics.”

He says he will now try a new strategy - talking directly to councils.

“The Government will now engage directly with the local government sector, local communities, and users of local government services to develop a program of agreed reforms to address the issues identified in the PESRAC report,” Mr Jaensch said.

“The Government acknowledges the participation of the non-government members, who have expressed support for local government reform. I hope this support will continue.”

Tasmania’s Shadow Minister for Local Government and Planning, Labor MP Anita Dow, says it is unreasonable for the Minister to expect parliament to commit to implementing the recommendations of the expert panel without first seeing them.

“Today Minister Jaensch has turned his back on the parliamentary working group on the reform of the local government sector,” Ms Dow said.

“Labor was committed to working with government and non-government members to develop the Terms of Reference and the composition of the independent expert panel.

“However, we were not prepared to commit to all of PESRAC recommendation 48, specifically the part that called on parliament to commit to implementing the recommendations without material modification.”

“Labor did not think it was fair or right to commit to the recommendations of the panel before they were determined.”