Time to step-up

The Tasmanian Division of the Property Council of Australia today praised Mayor Anita Dow and the Burnie City Council for proposing a LGAT Annual Conference motion to investigate the need for a regulator of council rates.

Executive Director Brian Wightman said the motion was a positive move. 

“An Independent Regulator is something the Property Council has been suggesting for many years.

"There is absolutely no need for councils to increase rates beyond CPI.  Brighton Council in the South has shown the way in this regard for many years.

"Any municipality that chooses to do so is obviously out of touch with their community, and should be required to justify the increase.

The Property Council encouraged local government leaders to follow Burnie's example.

"The North and North West of Tasmania understands the need for reform and that past methods of doing business much change.  The status quo is unacceptable.

"The motion to conference presents a terrific opportunity for councils to show that they actually believe in transparency and accountability.

"No council should fear an independent regulator auditing the setting of rates.

"What could they possibly have to hide?  It is their constituents’ hard-earned money after all," Mr Wightman said.

The Tasmanian Division also encouraged LGAT to embrace reform of the water and sewerage sector in Tasmania.

"A TasWater Government Business Enterprise repairing neglected infrastructure in half the time, maintaining council dividends and increasing prices at a lower rate than currently proposed can only be a good outcome for public health, environmental sustainability and economic activity in the State.

"It's difficult to understand why councils are so blind to this once in a lifetime opportunity.  They don't even have to raise capital to fix the infrastructure network which they have failed to upkeep.

"Councils have a clear choice.  If they continue to say no, then they are selfishly putting the investment future of Tasmania at significant risk.

“Concurrently, it is also time for politicians in the Tasmanian Parliament to step-up and do what is in the best interests of the State, projecting their thinking forward 10, 20 and 50 years.  If they do, they will clearly see that the reform of TasWater is in the best interests of Tasmania,” he said.