23rd April 2007

“Regional and Rural Small Businesses and local jobs are set to be decimated under the disgraceful Beattie Labor Government’s plan to force large scale Local Government amalgamations,” Shadow Minister for Local Government and Planning, Howard Hobbs said today.

“The vast majority of Local Governments in Rural and Regional areas strongly support their local businesses by purchasing items such as, fuel, tyres, hardware, incidentals and local maintenance contractor services,” Mr Hobbs said.

“Under the Beattie Labor Government’s proposal we could have Local Government areas larger than State Electorates which in some cases are larger than Tasmania and Victoria.  In the Northern Territory the Labor Government reduced the number of Local Governments and Municipalities from 63 down to 13, Mr Hobbs said.

“In Queensland many small business and contractors which benefit from current Local Government spending will stand to loose a considerable portion of their business,” Mr Hobbs said.

“I have had reports that small business will have to put off staff and Postal Services in some communities will be so badly affected that they may have to close,” Mr Hobbs said.

“This has a significant flow on effect to the whole community as they won’t have the businesses, jobs and services in their towns which they presently utilise and are currently supported by Local Government,” Mr Hobbs said.

Mr Hobbs predicted that there would be a significant restructure of Local Government jobs which will be reclassified and rationalised, and people will be required to reapply for those positions.

“The Minister for Local Government confirmed in interviews, that their will be massive job losses.”

“This history of amalgamations tells us that eventually the bureaucracy will increase and erode savings from any amalgamations,” Mr Hobbs said.

“There is no comparison between mergers in the corporate sector to Local Government.  The corporate sector sell off or close down unprofitable sectors of the new business, where as Local Government can’t sell off essential services such as libraries, sewerage, rubbish collection, and social services,” Mr Hobbs said.

Media contact: Howard Hobbs 46 22 88 88