MAYOR: WE NEED LESS GOVT
Mayor’s radical proposal
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