Thursday, 31 August 2017

Robert Dobrzynski’s parting words

The reform of local governments and amalgamations should be the next focus of the state government, outgoing City of Launceston general manager Robert Dobrzynski declared....... Hours before boarding a plane for retirement on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Dobrzynski spoke publicly for the final time as general manager....... Tasmania has 29 councils for a population of about 520,000....... Mr Dobrzynski acknowledged amalgamations were not likely to happen voluntarily and called on state politicians to secure a mandate for change....... “The state government at the moment is addressing a very important issue and that’s the future of TasWater,” he said. ...... “I think the next cab off the rank should be local government reform.”...... Mr Dobrzynski questioned the sustainability of several Tasmanian councils “that rely upon TasWater dividends and grants-commission funding to remain viable”....... He made the comments during an extensive Q&A at the end of his seven-year reign as general manager....... Since 2010 Mr Dobrzynski oversaw the council’s budget and he believes the region would be better served with fewer local government boundaries. ...... “It is enormously difficult to run a sustainable regional centre of national significance with the fragmented local government framework we have,” he said.  ...... “There’s going to be all sorts of parochial politics at play at this – but we’ve got people either side of the road that are in different municipalities....... We have a city council that provides – proudly provides – a range of high-cost regional facilities which this community deserves, but are largely being paid for by two-thirds of the population....... “That’s not equitable – it never will be equitable.”...... Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein has promised no forced amalgamations of councils....... Mr Dobrzynski said any change would need to be mandated. ...... “Show me an example in Australia where local government reform has been done voluntarily – there’s very few of them,” he said. ...... “It’s enormously difficult – people don’t like change, it really does need to be mandated after a period of consultation.”...... Mr Dobrzynski said people could be convinced of the benefits of amalgamation....... “You can mandate ward structures to ensure political representation is there – you can come up with service level agreements to ensure that services aren’t dropped below acceptable levels,” he said. ...... “There’s ways of doing things that ensure people aren’t lost in this.”  ......

Thanks to The Examiner for the quotes and let's hope that the long suffering people of northern Tasmania get to see some real change now that the fly has flicked itself out of the ointment even if it should have never found its way there.

The new GM

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