Mayor’s rad­i­cal pro­posal

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - HAR­RI­SON TIPPET

THE Mayor of Gee­long has sen­sa­tion­ally ques­tioned the need for lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

In a col­umn in to­day’s Gee­long Ad­ver­tiser, Mayor Bruce Har­wood sug­gests Vic­to­ri­ans were over-gov­erned, and put for­ward a pro­posal to amal­ga­mate the State Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal coun­cils.

“In Aus­tralia, with our pop­u­la­tion ap­proach­ing 25 mil­lion, is three lev­els of gov­ern­ment (fed­eral, state and lo­cal) and a myr­iad of statu­tory au­thor­i­ties (such as VicRoads, Bar­won Wa­ter, EPA, etc) re­ally needed?” Cr Har­wood asks in his col­umn.

“One sim­ple thought is that we could be just as well served with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment over­see­ing the na­tional in­ter­est, and a com­bi­na­tion of State Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal coun­cil gov­ern­ing the more ba­sic re­quire­ments.

“Sim­pli­fy­ing it all may make our gov­er­nance model ac­tu­ally ser­vice us bet­ter.”

Cr Har­wood said it ought to be con­sid­ered what would hap­pen if the two lower lev­els of gov­ern­ment were amal­ga­mated.

For­mer Premier Jeff Kennett, who re­duced Vic­to­ria’s 210 lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties to 78 in 1994, wel­comed the bold sug­ges­tion, which he noted would cost Cr Har­wood his job if it be­came re­al­ity.

“I firstly con­grat­u­late him for think­ing out­side of the square, and I think that’s what lead­er­ship is all about,” Mr Kennett. “I agree with ev­ery­thing he says about us be­ing over gov­erned … we not only have mul­ti­ple ad­min­is­tra­tive units in terms of pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives — coun­cil­lors, mem­bers of par­lia­ment, state, fed­eral et cetera — but we have mul­ti­plic­i­ties of bu­reau­cra­cies, and the bu­reau­cra­cies are re­ally the things that slow pro­cesses down.”

Mr Kennett of­fered a dif­fer­ent so­lu­tion, sug­gest­ing state gov­ern­ments be dumped in favour of larger mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties through­out the state. MAYOR HAR­WOOD’S COL­UMN: Page 31

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