House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Constituency Statements

Local Council Elections: Tasmania

10:18 am

Photo of Brian MitchellBrian Mitchell (Lyons, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In October Tasmania will have its local council elections. Many new faces are starting to pop up—which is fantastic—for the 11 municipalities across my electorate. Local government plays an integral role in regional communities, and mayors, in particular, play a vital role communicating the needs of their constituents to state and federal members. Not a week goes by that I'm not on the phone to one mayor or another.

In October we will see the retirement of four mayors in 11 of my councils. Martyn Evans, the mayor of the Derwent Valley, was a former candidate for the state Liberals in the 2014 election. I won't hold that against him. He's a great bloke, a fierce competitor and a very good advocate for his local community. Some of his work during the floods should not go unmentioned. Martyn was one of the youngest mayors ever elected in Australia when he first took office in 2008. My understanding is that he intends to stay on the council, if re-elected, but he's not seeking the office of mayor.

Roseanne Heyward has been the Mayor of the Tasman Council since 2014, and she's been a champion for progressive local government in that beautiful part of the world, which includes Port Arthur and the Three Capes Track. Recently the council voted against amalgamation with nearby Sorell Council. Roseanne didn't agree with that decision, so she's decided to step down from the council. There will be very interesting days ahead for that council without her very able stewardship. I wish her all the best. She played a central role in the community during the disastrous Dunalley fires, on the border with Sorell, doing everything in her power to make sure the area was looked after.

David Downie is the Mayor of the Northern Midlands Council. David was recognised with a Life Members' Award for Meritorious Service at the Local Government Association of Tasmania conference earlier this year, and after 25 years on the Northern Midlands Council he is stepping down. He was the chair of TasWater and wanted it to remain as a separate entity when the state Liberal government tried to take it over. He put up a very able fight. The Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, soon knew he was up for a fight when David stepped up to the plate. I wish David all the best in his endeavours. No doubt he'll be looking forward to continuing to get very good prices for the lambs from his farm in the Northern Midlands.

Finally, Craig Perkins is the Mayor of the Meander Valley Council. Craig's been mayor since 2011. He has always said he was an accidental mayor, taking on the role when the former mayor became a Liberal MP, but Craig has been indefatigable for the municipality.

I wish all four of those mayors the best, and I wish every candidate in local government all the best.