Council merger on the menu
DERWENT Valley Mayor Martyn Evans says he is open to the idea of surveying ratepayers on council amalgamations and will raise the topic at a council workshop tomorrow.
However, Central Highlands Mayor Loueen Triffitt indicated her council will not be taking part in voluntary amalgamations.
“The Central Highlands is not interested in amalgamations,” Councillor Triffitt said.
The Sorell community became the first in Tasmania to come out overwhelmingly in support of proposed council mergers last week.
Eighty four per cent of respondents to a council survey favoured a voluntary merger.
Cr Evans believes the time is right to examine the issue in the Derwent Valley.
“I think it’s definitely got a lot of merit, listening to the ratepayers about what they would like to see for their area,” Cr Evans said.
“That may be a question we take to a council meeting to take to the ratepayers to survey them, similar to what they’ve done in Sorell, and get the feedback of what people want their local government to look like.
“Whether it is the status quo, whether it’s boundary adjustments, amalgamation, or no local government whatsoever, maybe that question needs to be put as well.
“I think that it is probably a good time to look at that as well, and I’ve got a workshop Thursday evening and I’ll actually take that question forward to the workshop, and see if we take that forward to a council meeting.”
Following the 2014 local government elections, the State Government put voluntary amalgamations on the table and has provided councils with funds to model scenarios.
But the process has been painstakingly slow.
Cr Evans said it was too early to consider which councils the Derwent Valley would merge with if amalgamations were to occur.
He said that even if the Derwent Valley community voted in favour of a merger, there would still be plenty of work to do.
“Whether they do or don’t [want amalgamations] for starters would be an interesting thing, but also if you’re engaging with other areas, whether they want to be as well,” he said.
“Just because the Derwent Valley wants to amalgamate, say Brighton or Glenorchy might go no, or Central Highlands might go no, so it would fall over there.
“There’s many different pitfalls, but it’s a good question to ask the community.”