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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 44 First Report In addition to inadequate funding, the continuing issues as a result of local government reform were said by witnesses to include: inherited debts of previous community government councils; poor condition of transferred assets; the cost of CouncilBiz and the IT system; inability to produce financial reports and technically being in breach of the accounting regulations; lack of clarity about which roads shires have responsibility for; and what additional funding is available for roads. The Council welcomes governments concession that the IT system hasnt worked well and that the timing of its implementation was not good. There was some comment from witnesses that they are hopeful about the results from the remediation process currently underway. The Council will follow up the progress of the remediation process and the shires ability to fulfil the requirements of the accounting regulations. The Council finds a level of confirmation that one of the reasons the government wanted to pursue local government reform was it would help to access additional roads funding. Although the Council has been told an audit is underway of roads, the process for recognition of the true road lengths and additional roads funding is unclear. It will seek briefings on the audit and also how government is following up on additional roads funding in hearings in 2010. The municipal councils raised concerns about their role in planning in their towns, their roles on the DCA and the difficulty in getting information from the Department responsible for planning matters. Most municipal councils want to be involved in planning discussions for new subdivisions within their towns, but also with broader social infrastructure and land use planning. Working Future The Council shares the concerns of some witnesses about the choice of Territory growth towns and the apparent lack of growth towns/service hubs in central Australia. It maintains that the role of existing regional service towns like Alice Springs, Kununurra and Mt Isa needs to be examined within the context of Working Future and the Territorys implementation of the Remote Service Delivery NPA. The appropriateness of some growth towns to act as service centres for surrounding communities also needs to be re-examined in light of the known preferences and practices of communities. The Council is concerned about the disconnect of the growth towns with the shires and notes the NT Coordinator-Generals comments about charges being levied on shires by the EDTL for assets previously owned by community government councils. The Council will examine arrangements under Working Future to work more closely with shires, particularly in relation to township leasing. The Council notes that as part of developing local implementation plans, the government will work through tenure and township lease arrangements with communities and land councils. The Council will be seeking regular updates on progress in developing the plans and in the negotiation of township leases. Governments intentions towards the funding and provision of essential services to outstations and homelands remains unclear to the Council. It notes research