Council Amalgamations

I support amalgamations, but not at the cost of democratic representation. I believe that we can have more efficient Local government with fewer councils, and those savings are worth real consideration. I also believe that we do not need to lose representation as Councils get large; we can actually improve it.

My comments will be restricted to Hobart (Greater Hobart), because I believe each community should make its own decisions on what suits it best. I have a good knowledge of Hobart and its suburbs.

After growing up in Hobart, I have lived in Glenorchy (2 years); Clarence (6 years); Kingborough (9 years); and Hobart (again) for the past 16 years. When I am interstate or overseas, and I’m asked where I live, my reply is always “Hobart”. The city is one whole. When I stand atop Mt Wellington, and take in that spectacular view, I see Hobart – not separate municipalities.

Hobart and its environs is one entity, and I believe it will work better when it operates as one entity. It is a waste of resources to have suburban municipalities competing with each other over projects such as sporting grounds, hospitals or roadworks. Thinking as one city will allow proper strategic planning to take place, for the good of all.

There will be problems with amalgamations, no doubt. Each Council operates differently. Some carry significant debt; others don’t. Representation of particular community groups will need to be carefully planned, so the larger entity becomes inclusive. That is possible, I believe, through the Precinct system. That is already in place in some Councils, so the model could be enhanced for an amalgamated Hobart. More radically, I encourage discussion on a new model of representation – a Citizen’s Democracy. That might take some time to achieve, but lets start the discussion.

I love Hobart - all of it. If we think of it as one city, and all contribute to its growth – economically, culturally, and socially – our future possibilities are boundless.