Local Government Amendment (TARGETED REVIEW) BILL No.49 of 2017
Ms Armitage (Launceston) - Madam Acting President, as tempting as it might be to veer into other areas not covered by this bill, I will not do so. This bill tidies up and tightens the principal act. I note there were 64 submissions and a lot of consultation. It is important to say there has been much consultation.
I noted the letter from LGAT, which primarily supports the bill but with a few concerns relating to the ministerial orders. I note the Acting Leader will address this in her summing up. I am going through some of the areas. I do not have many problems with this bill. I certainly agree with clarifying the role of the mayor, particularly with civic and ceremonial functions and good governance. There is nothing wrong there.
It certainly is a tidy-up of the existing legislation. Clarifying the appointment of acting general managers: many acting general managers can be in place for quite a period of time. It is very important they have appropriate experience. An acting general manager obviously has all the powers of a general manager and can certainly make many decisions.
I know from my own experience that often an acting general manager, particularly if your general manager is away, can be reluctant to make decisions. The council can fall down on some areas because they are afraid to make decisions until the actual general manager returns.
I am pleased to note areas where the Government has taken notice of last year's Legislative Council Sessional Committee Government Administration B inquiry into the Tasmanian Electoral Commission. This brings the act up to contemporary standards,
with the internet and electoral advertising and some areas not covered previously. It is a real tidy-up and a tightening of the bill.
Gifts and donations registers: some councils already have a gift register. I remember that when I was on the Launceston council, we had a gift register on which was noted certain gifts. It is important. I am sure that now some of the larger councils would have that. Some of the smaller councils may not record the gifts either. One of the things larger councils receive are invitations, whether to shows or theatre performances, which can add up at $60 or $70 each time. It is important there is a public register so people can actually see that with regard to their councils.
Most areas have been covered by other members.
It is a good bill. It does tidy up and tighten. I accept the concerns of LGAT and am sure they will be covered by the Acting Leader in her summing up. I support the bill.