The ASU is concerned about recent media coverage once again proposing a merger of three of Tasmania’s largest Councils into one Greater Hobart council, with Hobart, Glenorchy and Kingborough Mayors touting the idea as something worth looking into again.

We understand that concerns remain for ASU members that any possible merger will result in job losses whilst Tasmania’s unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the country.  Our members want to see their communities continue to be serviced appropriately through adequate staffing levels and appropriate spending where it is needed, not just where the majority of voting rate payers live.

A recent survey conducted by the Mercury Newspaper suggests a figure as high as 80% support for amalgamation of Tasmanian councils but we do not believe that the questions asked adequately addressed the issues resulting from amalgamation, including service levels, effects on staffing, etc. To our knowledge, none of the three councils involved have asked their employees for their thoughts, concerns and ideas in relation to possible amalgamation. The ASU are asking that these councils immediately enter into consultation with the ASU and our members to unearth the issues.

We have today written to each of the General Managers and Mayors as well as all elected Councillors/Aldermen of City of Hobart, Glenorchy City and Kingborough Councils asking them to immediately enter into a consultative process with their employees so that they can hear from the people who know best what impact amalgamation and job losses would have on their staff and the community.

We are asking all Tasmanian council employees to complete the ASU Tasmanian local government amalgamation survey to let us know how you feel about possible future amalgamations in the state. We urge all members to share the survey with their colleagues so that we can get a significant response rate.

The ASU does not agree that a merger of Hobart based councils would provide sufficient benefit to rate payers or employees. Previous reports into the potential merger of two, three or even four Hobart-based councils has shown only minor cost savings resulting from amalgamation. The risks to individual employees livelihoods, and the community more broadly, far outweigh any benefits.

Historically, amalgamations in Tasmania have resulted in closures of office locations and works depots in the more regional areas and we see this proposal as no different.  Why would a Greater Hobart council continue to operate with three depots and three offices?  The closures of the offices and works depots in Kingston and Glenorchy would result in job losses and a reduction in service provision for the community.

For further information please contact:
ASU Organiser Aaron De La Torre | 0427 813 821 | adelatorre@asuvictas.com.au

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