The demise of the Huon Valley Council should serve as a timely warning for councils large and small around the state.
Nanjing Night Net

Local government minister Peter Gutwein has drawn the line in the sand and said enough is enough.

They must perform and become a professional operation or face the consequences.

He is quite up front when he says in the first instance it is up to the councillors themselves to resolve their issues.

In this case the council was given plenty of time to try to find a solution, mend its ways, and get along.

“As Minister, I effectively gave the council six months to get its house in order,” he said.

Unfortunately, he notes that the issues confronting the council appear irreconcilable.

It is by no means the first time that a dysfunctional council has been shown the door by the minister of the day.

In March 2002 the then Premier Jim Bacon sacked the Kentish Council.

It began a long period under an administrator.

But the Kentish region rebounded and decided it wanted to maintain its own local representation. The council of today no doubt still existswith the memoryof early this century in mind, determined to make it work and despite some tenuous moments, keeps the area running.

For any of our local councils, the clash of personalities around the table is sometimes difficult to manage.

But anyone standing for an elected role in local government must realise that they are essentially becoming a board member of a medium to large business.

Even the smaller councils of the region and state deal with large sums of money, and their performance matters to everyone in their patch.

If good governance and sound decision making becomes polluted by petty politics and personalities then they risk the future of local representation.

The chorus of support for council amalgamations has been quiet for a while, but if the elected members don’t do their job properly then it will be back and heard very loudly.

Eventhe least engaged ratepayer expects the members around a council table to act diligently and take a mature approach to the business before them.

When they act like schoolchildren and can’t behave then they will go the way of the Huon Valley and be shown the door.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.