Property Council must work with local government

BRIGHTON Council has called on the Property Council (Tasmania) to work with local government to benefit ratepayers rather that continually attacking the third tier of government.

It says Tasmanian would be better served if the Property Council worked with local councils to achieve efficiencies.Brighton Councillor Leigh Gray said the Property Council was orchestrating the campaign to force local government amalgamations and in reality this was little more than an attempt by big city property owners to get rate reductions at the expense of householders.

“Brighton Council has demonstrated that through sharing its expertise and services with other councils and innovative decision-making it can run a highly efficient local government body, evidenced by the fact that its rates have risen by CPI or less for the past 16 years.

“Rather than continue its ‘slash and burn’ mentality, the Property Council should work with local councils to ensure that all were employing best practice and operating as efficiently as possible.

“It is a fallacy to suggest that council amalgamations will lead to lower rates. This has not happened elsewhere in Australia and, when the costs of amalgamation are considered, it is very unlikely to happen in Tasmania.”

Cr Gray said many of the major councils, including Brighton, were members of the Property Council.

“We joined the organisation because we believed it would assist us to gain a better understanding of the needs of property developers and assist in facilitating development in our municipality.

“However, we will necessarily consider our position when the body of which we are a member is actively campaigning to force us out of existence.

“We would rather the Property Council work with us to improve efficiency and services for all ratepayers, but it appears to have this myopic view that amalgamation is the cure-all for Tasmania’s economic ills.”

Cr Gray said as simple assessment of rate equalisation under a combined Brighton, Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart and Kingborough Council would see Brighton’s rates rise by up to 40 percent.

“We simply cannot allow this to happen and call on the Property Council to work with councils rather than against them,” he said