The Launceston Chamber of Commerce members have responded strongly to questions asking their views on whether political reform is required in Tasmania.

The Launceston Chamber of Commerce surveyed its members in February on a number of issues in the lead-up to the State election on 15 March 2014. When the Chamber members were asked what political reform is important to their business and the State overall four options were rated as ‘critically important’ by a large portion of the respondents. The four highest options rated by level of importance were as follows:

1. Improve the efficiencies of State Government Departments and Government Business Entities (rated at 83%)

2. Review the State political system so that there is a greater chance of delivering majority government (rated at 76%)

3. Improve efficiencies at a local government level for e.g. greater cooperation between councils (rated at 76%)

4. Support mergers of local councils (rated at 73%)

The Executive Officer of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, Maree Tetlow advised that “another option that wasn’t rated as highly but still rated as somewhat important by 46% of the respondents was the need to reduce the overall number of State politicians in Tasmania. Those that responded positively to this question would on the whole (67%) like to see a reduction in the number of members of the Upper House (Legislative Council) or removal of the Upper House altogether. Then 39% of those responded would like to see an increase in the number of members in the Lower House.” Some of the comments made regarding the reduction of State politicians included: “It is not the number of State Politicians that we should be worried about. It is the constant use and expense of employing consultants to do studies before making decisions. We have ministers that oversee departmental secretaries who have highly qualified and highly paid staff on hand. What the state needs is a better run government machine.” “...ultimately we need a lean efficient government just like any other successful business.” Ms Tetlow advised that “I think the message from our members is they want to see continuous improvement from the two levels of government in Tasmania. Tough economic times provide an opportunity and realisation that we all need to review and change what we do - and that includes Government. I read into the comments that there is an opportunity to make some major changes with the support of the business community. In fact the majority feel that change and restructuring of State and Local Government bodies and political systems is ‘critically important’ for the future viability of our State” she said.

Note: The survey was constructed so that only one response per member was permitted. Each member was asked to reflect the position of their organisation. A total of 95 members responded to the survey and included a cross section of industries and business sizes.