Meander Valley responds to Launceston’s amalgamation bid

Posted on April 29, 2022

“We all want a viable local government but a "bigger is better" focus is too narrow and regional communities must be represented."

As part of a proposed submission to the State Government’s Board Review into the Future of Local Government, Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten has advocated for the establishment of a greater Launceston metropolitan council.

“It’s disappointing that there has been no regional consultation or discussion from the City of Launceston. But they are entitled to their view,” Mayor Wayne Johnston of Meander Valley Council said.

“We all want viable and focused local government and there is certainly room for a new model and reform. But a ‘big is better focus’ is too narrow.”

Mayor van Zetten has claimed that Launceston is at a disadvantage due to a so called ‘spill-over effect’ where services are used by residents from neighboring municipal areas for no financial contribution.

“This occurs along every council boundary and could equally be described as being mutually beneficial. That’s the lot of a regional city and a bigger Launceston won’t change that,” Mayor Johnston said.

“Meander Valley, like other Launceston satellite councils contributes its fair share to regional initiatives and we do not always get a direct benefit. We pursue a shared interest.

“Brisbane is the largest local government in the southern hemisphere and they still have the same issue with their neighboring councils. Size doesn’t matter. That said, Meander Valley would be happy to absorb Launceston, as we are after all, at the centre of the entire northern region.

“A new model for Tasmanian local government must address the needs of the many smaller regional communities and encourage people to participate and represent their community interests.

“I appreciate Mayor van Zetten and Launceston have a view and welcome the contribution to the debate around local government reform. We all need to contribute to make the most of this opportunity and Meander Valley Council will be preparing a submission to the Local Government Board in due course.

“For now, I agree with the reported position of Launceston’s submission that cost savings should not be the primary goal of future local government reform. Curious that the focus of the media release is all about the financial aspects,” Mayor Johnston said.

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