A STATEWIDE survey has found significant support for council amalgamations, showing respondents believe Tasmania has too many councils and councillors.
The Property Council of Australia-Tasmania commissioned EMRS phone survey of 1000 people in May found 70 per cent of respondents believed there were “too many” councils in the state.
This is a 3 per cent increase on a February 2013 study and 14 per cent increase on November 2010.
However figures had declined by 4 per cent since November 2014.
The survey also found that 73 per cent of respondents believed 263 aldermen and councillors were too many for a state of 510,000 people – a 1 per cent drop on November polling, while 74 per cent believed councils would save money by merging, which remained the same.
The survey also showed that 69 per cent saw a need for council mergers and 76 per cent agreed with the state government’s review of the number of councils.
In the results shared exclusively with The Examiner, all five questions showed a significant majority for a more compact local government.
State executive director Brian Wightman said the results showed that the state government has widespread support to investigate council mergers and there was strong community support.
He said now was the time for action.
“Since 2010 there has been a continual increase in support for council reform in Tasmania and the figures continue to hold up,” Mr Wightman said.
“The community wants it, the state government wants it and even many of the councils have expressed a desire for it to happen, so it is time for the state government to take action on the issue.”
Mr Wightman said as it was, investors and developers in the state were forced to play by 29 different sets of rules, making investment just about unworkable.
“If you want to create jobs and growth in Tasmania, we need to act and we need to see meaningful reform of local government in order to reduce costs and improve service delivery.”
On Wednesday, Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein confirmed 11 councils were keen to start formal discussions around amalgamation and resource sharing opportunities.
These include Launceston, Meander Valley, Northern Midlands, West Tamar and George Town councils in the North.
Dorset and Break O’Day councils were still considering their options.
Flinders Island, Kentish and Latrobe councils have opted out of the process.
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