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Northern Midlands Call for Independent Planning and Waste Management Authorities

Posted on May 10, 2022

Northern Midlands Council says there is much greater scope for northern councils to share resources and is advocating for the establishment of independent planning and waste management authorities in the region.

In its submission to the State Government’s Review Northern Midlands supports further reform of local government but argues in favour of expansion of the shared-resource model.

NMC Mayor Mary Knowles OAM today said there were many examples of substantial progress in resource sharing including on projects such as waste management, action on climate change, the regional land-use strategy, asset management and legal services.

“Our submission identifies several key areas to expand resource sharing and collaboration including the establishment of a Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Authority, an Independent Planning Authority to streamline building and planning rules and to better plan for our region’s housing needs,” Mayor Knowles said.

“We believe there are also opportunities for collaboration and sharing information technology, engineering and environmental health services.

The NMC’s submission did not rule out possible council mergers but argued that it should be voluntary and only in cases where clear social, economic and governance benefits were identified.

Mayor Knowles said the review of local government should also address ways to progress the long-standing national issue of constitutional recognition of local government and a legislated set proportion of Commonwealth revenue to local government.

“Financial Assistance Grants to local government have been eroded to about half of their historic level which dramatically affects the capacity of the sector, especially smaller regional councils, to build and maintain infrastructure,” Mayor Knowles said.

The NMC submission also dismissed Launceston’s proposal to create a bigger metropolitan municipality by usurping parts of Northern Midlands, including Perth, Launceston Airport and the adjacent business and industrial precincts.

“Our analysis has found that Launceston’s proposal would have an immediate $3.9 million impact on Northern Midlands – some 36 per cent of our revenue – and an additional $1.88 million annual loss of revenue from potential new development opportunities,” Mayor Knowles said.

Mayor Knowles said that the draft submission is listed in the May Council meeting agenda for discussion.

For further information, please contact Mayor Mary Knowles OAM on 0408 766 625.