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The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010



The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010

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Tabled paper 714


Tabled Papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled By Gerard Wood


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Council of Territory Co-operation 7 First Report represented through effective community planning processes, strong leadership and community engagement. 11 The new local government structure and indicative shire boundaries were announced in January 2007. The structure proposed at that time was to retain the four existing municipal councils of Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs and for the rest of the Territory to be covered by nine shires for the areas encompassing the Tiwi Islands, West Arnhem, East Arnhem, Top End-Litchfield, East Katherine, Victoria River-Daly, Barkly, Central Desert and McDonnell. The key principles that underpinned the reform process were: 1. A focus on delivering a fair standard of local government services to all communities. 2. Integrated planning between the three levels of government. 3. Consultation across all communities throughout the transition and implementation process. 4. Existing municipal councils and new shires working together and sharing resources through regional agreements. 5. An ongoing, cooperative partnership between the Northern Territory Government, the Australian Government and the local government sector.12 Advice to government on how a restructured local government could work was provided through a Local Government Advisory Board, headed by Mr Patrick Dodson, with representatives from a range of groups with an interest in local government in the Northern Territory. Nine shire transition committees were established to develop shire plans, consider a range of administration and representation issues and to assist the transition to the new local government system. The transition process was supported by Development Coordinators who assisted elected members in governance processes and ensured that services continued to be provided.13 The new local government structure commenced on 1 July 2008 with the creation of eight new large shire councils and three smaller shire councils and the retention of existing municipal councils. The originally planned ninth shire of the Top End (to include Litchfield, Belyuen, Coomalie and Cox Peninsula councils) was abandoned in February 2008 following considerable public pressure about the final local government structure. The four affected councils boundaries remained unchanged. The Litchfield municipal council retained municipality status but changed its name to the Litchfield Council. 14 11 The Hon Elliott McAdam (MLA), Speech to the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) Conference, Alice Springs Conference, 11 October 2006, http://www.localgovernment.nt.gov.au/history/miniter/minters_speech, accessed 30 December 2009. 12 Department of Local Government, Housing and Sport (DLGHS), New Local Government Questions and Answers, p.3. 13 DLGHS, Implementing New Local Government, Fact Sheet. 14 The Hon Rob Knight, Minister for Local Government, Second Reading Speech Local Government Act 2007, http://www.localgovernment.nt.gov.au/legislation/proposed_new_local_government_act, accessed 30 December 2009; Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT), Characteristics of the Local Government in the NT, http://www.lgant.nt.gov.au/home/nt_local_government/characteristics_of_the_local_government_in_the_ nt/index.html, accessed 30 December 2009; and Litchfield Council, History of Litchfield Council, http://www.litchfield.nt.gov.au/index.php?page=history-of-litchfield-council, accessed 30 December 2009.