By TONY FOSTER OAM
YOU may have noticed some activity in the media highlighting Brighton Council’s opposition to the current campaign by property owners to force local government amalgamations.
We are doing this in the very best interests of ratepayers as the campaign being conducted by the group Tasmanians for Reform, is little more than an attempt by big city property owners to get rate reductions at the expense of householders.
Therefore, we are representing the interests of ratepayers in Bridgewater, Gagebrook, Old Beach, Pontville and throughout the Brighton municipality in fighting against this groups unfair and misleading campaign.
Tasmanians for Reform is little more than a front for the Property Council and it is claiming that local government amalgamation will reduce rates. However experience elsewhere where the costs of amalgamations have actually forced household rates up, shows this to be false.
Brighton Council is not against local government amalgamation where it can be demonstrated by irrefutable evidence that this benefits ratepayers and our community.
We have a very clear responsibility to protect our ratepayers and all our advice points to this current proposal actually increasing rates and threatening services to the Brighton community. We cannot and will not sit by and allow this to happen.
Tasmanians for Reform and the Property Council are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to push their case in the hope that the State Government will take up the call and agree to council amalgamations.
Obviously, we are not matching that spending. Brighton’s response is being funded from our normal ratepayer communication and promotion budget and by our wholly-owned business, Microwise Australia. Council views this as an investment to protect ratepayers from unwarranted rate increases and Microwise understands the importance of this issue to its owners, the people of Brighton.
As you are well aware, Council communicates regularly with ratepayers and promotes Brighton initiatives to the wider Tasmanian community. It is important that we represent and inform our citizens, particularly when faced with a one-sided and jaded campaign that would result in their rates being increased.
Our current activity is aimed at keeping our ratepayers informed and promoting the fact that Brighton is one of the best performing and most efficient councils in Tasmania.
As such, our ratepayers have absolutely nothing to gain from the big property owners current local government amalgamation push and we will continue to oppose it.
The people of Brighton can be assured that we will continue to oppose any measures that will impact adversely on our ratepayers and our fair rating systems that continues to deliver the lowest possible rates while supporting our highly efficient delivery of services to our community.