THE current campaign for local government amalgamations and particularly the establishment of a greater Hobart Council comprising Brighton, Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart and Kingborough is being pursued by the so-call Tasmanians for Reform Group. This group is little more than a front for the Property Council which represents large property and building owners seeking reduced rates for city office buildings and shops.Brighton currently has the lowest rates per capita in Tasmania and operates its ‘Fair Rating System’ that commits to annual rate increases no greater than CPI. Brighton Council leads in local government efficiency with the highest operating result in the State and is debt free.
Brighton Council has studied the likely impact of amalgamation on the Brighton community and ratepayers and has taken expert advice.
This shows that:
- Rate equalisation as a result of amalgamation could increase Brighton’s rates by up to 40%.
- Amalgamation is not right for Brighton, it is not fair to ratepayers and will add significantly to cost of living pressures.
- Brighton has the lowest rates and the highest operating margin in Tasmania, based on the latest report from the Tasmanian Auditor General.
- The current push for amalgamation is aimed at benefiting the vested interests of big property owners in central Hobart.
- Shared services and joint purchasing can achieve valuable efficiencies and savings for all councils.
Brighton Council is not anti-amalgamation, however the current greater Hobart council proposal is not right for Brighton or its ratepayers.
Brighton’s preferred future option is:
No amalgamation, but expanded shared services with other councils, membership of a Metropolitan Councils Group, plus membership of a reinvigorated Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority (STCA).