Councillor Induction

Welcome to the Northern Midlands Council - Councillor Induction Program.

Welcome

This program is specifically designed for Councillors to provide an understanding of:

  • The Northern Midlands Council area
  • The roles and responsibilities of Council and Councillors
  • Council's strategies, plans and future focus
  • How to access information and where to gain support for your role

As part of this Councillor Induction there is a Frequently Asked Questions section, to answer some practical questions that new Councillors will have as they commence in the role. In addition to this core induction material, additional resources are being developed to assist Councillors in the area of personal professional development.
It is strongly recommended that you include the Local Government Association of Tasmania - Councillor Resource Kit as an essential component of your induction program; this kit has been produced by the Local Government Association of Tasmania as an introduction to the role of Councillor.

This Northern Midlands Council - Councillor Induction recognises the diverse backgrounds of Councillors, with a self paced approach to the induction program allowing individuals to identify information that is relevant to their learning needs.  The program is divided into five key categories.
Follow the links below to work your way through the categories and navigate through the program.

Follow the links below to work your way through the categories and navigate through the program.

Our Council Our Community Our Lifestyle Our Economy
Overview of Local Government

Introduction

In Australia there are three spheres of Government, federal, state and local. At a local government level in Tasmania, there are 29 councils each responsible for their own municipality.

Northern Midlands Council is governed by various pieces of legislation including the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulations 2005 (Tasmania).

To view the Local Government Act click here  or to view the Local Government Regulations click here.

This Act and accompanying Regulations require local government to be responsible and accountable for its own governance requirements. Section 20 of the Act describes the functions and powers of council.

In addition to any functions of a council in this or any other Act, a council has the following functions:

  • to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the community;
  • to represent and promote the interests of the community;
  • to provide for the peace, order and good government of the municipal area.

In performing its functions, a council is to consult, involve and be accountable to the community.

A council may do anything necessary or convenient to perform its functions either within or outside its municipal area.

A council may transfer to a single authority or a joint authority –

  • any of its assets and liabilities on any condition it determines; or
  • any of its employees.

A council may –

  • acquire, hold, dispose of and otherwise deal with property; and
  • sue and be sued in its corporate name.
 

To search for additional legislation and/or by-laws the following link will take you to Tasmanian Legislation Online.

Council by-laws

A by-law is a law made by a Council. By-laws must relate to the functions and powers of Councils as established under the Local Government Act 1993 and can only apply to the municipal area of the Council that has made the by-law.

The power to make by-laws is delegated to Councils by the Tasmanian Parliament, which has prescribed a detailed process for the making of by-laws.

The procedure for making a by-law requires a draft of the by-law and an approved regulatory impact statement to be released for public comment as per the Local Government Act 1993, Sections 145 to 174. Additional information on the making of by-laws can be found on the Local Government Division website below.

The Role of Councillor

Northern Midlands Council has a popularly elected Mayor, Deputy Mayor and 7 other Councillors, from 2014 Councillors will be elected for a term of 4 years.

A Councillor, in the capacity of an individual Councillor, has the following functions:

  • to represent the community;
  • to act in the best interests of the community;
  • to facilitate communication by the council with the community;
  • to participate in the activities of the council;
  • to undertake duties and responsibilities as authorised by the council.
 
The councillors of a council collectively have the following functions:
  • to develop and monitor the implementation of strategic plans and budgets;
  • to determine and monitor the application of policies, plans and programs; and
  • the efficient and effective provision of services and facilities; and
  • the efficient and effective management of assets; and
  • the fair and equitable treatment of employees of the council;
  • to facilitate and encourage the planning and development of the municipal area in the best interests of the community;
  • to appoint and monitor the performance of the general manager;
  • to determine and review the council's resource allocation and expenditure activities;
  • to monitor the manner in which services are provided by the council.
 In performing any function under this Act or any other Act, a councillor must not -
  • direct or attempt to direct an employee of the council in relation to the discharge of the employee's duties; or
  • perform any function of the mayor without the approval of the mayor.
 A councillor is to represent accurately the policies and decisions of the Council in performing the functions of councillor.

It is important to understand that individual Councillors have no decision making power. This lies with the collective group, which is Northern Midlands Council.

The Role of Mayor

The functions of Mayor are -

  • to act as a leader of the community of the municipal area; and
  • to act as chairperson of the council; and
  • to act as the spokesperson of the council; and
  • to liaise with the general manager on the activities of the council and the performance of its functions and exercise of its powers: and
  • to oversee the councillors in the performance of their functions and in the exercise of their powers.

The mayor or deputy mayor is to represent accurately the policies and decisions of the council in performing the functions of mayor or deputy mayor.

The deputy mayor is to act in the position of mayor and exercise the powers and perform the functions of mayor if:

  • the mayor is absent; and
  • the mayor or the council, by notice is writing, appoints the deputy mayor to act in the position.

The mayor, by notice in writing, may delegate for a specified period:

  • the function referred to in subsection (1)(b) to the deputy mayor, a councillor or the general manager; and
  • any other power or function of the mayor, other than the function referred to in subsection (1)(a), to the deputy mayor.

An appointment under subsection (2) remains in force:

(a) for the period specified in the notice; or
(b) until sooner revoked.

Additional Resource – Role of Mayor
The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) has produced a Mayoral Handbook to provide more comprehensive information regarding the role and responsibilities of the Mayor.

Click here to access the LGAT Mayoral Handbook

Further Reading – Role of Mayor
The Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government released a discussion paper in September 2012 titled Australian Mayors: What Can and Should They Do

Click here to read the discussion paper titled Australian Mayors: What Can and Should They Do.

The Responsibilities of the General Manager

The General Manager is appointed by the Council to manage the operations of Northern Midlands Council.

The Local Government Act 1993 identifies that the General Manager has the following functions and powers;

  • to implement the policies, plans and programs of the council;
  • to implement the decisions of the council;
  • to be responsible for the day-to-day operations and affairs of the council;
  • to provide advice and reports to the council on the exercise and performance of its powers and functions and any other matter requested by the council;
  • to assist the council in the preparation of the strategic plan, annual plan, annual report and assessment of the council's performance against the plans;
  • to coordinate proposals for the development of objectives, policies and programs for the consideration of the council;
  • to liase with the mayor on the affairs of the council and the performance of its functions;
  • to manage the resources and assets of the council;
  • to perform any other function the council decides.
The general manager may do anything necessary or convenient to perform his or her functions under this or any other Act.


Further Reading – Relationship between Mayor and General Manager
The Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government released a discussion paper in September 2012 titled Political Management in Australian Local Government Exploring Roles and Relationships between Mayors and CEO’s.

Key Partnerships & Stakeholders

Local Government Association of Tasmania
Council and Councillors have access to the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT). The Local Government Association of Tasmania has information to assist Councils, Elected Members and Employees working in Local Government. In addition, the Local Government Association deliver learning opportunities for Councillors, there are also comprehensive resources on the LGAT site to provide Councillors with extensive knowledge relating to their role and responsibilities. 

Australian Local Government Association
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is the national voice of Local Government in Australia representing more than 565 Councils across Australia.  The Australian Local Government Association website has numerous resources aimed at assisting Council’s nationwide. 

Northern Tasmania Development (NTD)
Northern Tasmania Development represents 8 Councils in Northern Tasmania advancing the interests and development of Northern Tasmania by facilitating and co-ordinating worthy economic and community initiatives. Together with this, NTD offers intelligence on developments within the Northern Region, and acts as a springboard to further information for business opportunities. 

Local Government Division – Department of Premier and Cabinet
Council also reports to the Local Government Division – Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPAC) who are responsible for managing the relationship between state and local government, monitoring local government performance, as well as providing guidance to local government.

There are a number of useful resources for Councillors on the DPAC website and it is worthwhile browsing the contents of this site to familiarise yourself with the information available to assist you in your role. 

Tasmanian State Government - Departments
The Tasmanian Government has various agencies with defined areas of responsibility; these agencies are underpinned by individual government departments. 

Parks and Wildlife
Parks and Wildlife are one of the State Government Departments mentioned above, with the responsibility for managing the states natural and cultural heritage.   This also includes the management of National Parks, Reserves and Crown Land.

North/East Tasmania – Local Government Sub Regional Alliance
Northern Midlands Council has established an alliance with 5 other Councils in North Eastern Tasmania to identify efficiencies and explore potential resource sharing opportunities. Members of the Sub Regional Alliance include:

  • Meander Valley Council
  • Break O’Day Council
  • George Town Council
  • Dorset Council
  • Flinders Council

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
At a federal level the Australian Government offers assistance and advice to local governments across Australia through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website provides information regarding funding and grant opportunities for local government, as well as national reporting on operations and performance at a local government level for each state.

The Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government
Is a collaboration of universities and professional bodies committed to the advancement of local government. There are a number of resources, programs, discussions and papers available to assist Elected Members and Council employees to continually strive to improve their performance and address common challenges faced in local government.

The Integrity Commission
The Integrity Commission was formed in October 2010 and is independent of government. Its role is to improve the standard of conduct and ethics in Tasmania's public authorities, including local government. The Integrity Commission has the ability to receive and investigate complaints in relation to public office within their jurisdiction.
As an Elected Member there are fact sheets available from The Integrity Commission that provide additional information on the expectations of appropriate conduct while in public office.

Our Council

Northern Midlands Council strives to provide leadership in the community, assisting Northern Midlands communities to identify, articulate and achieve community and social goals. Council embraces the concept of community capacity building: that is, facilitating the ability of community members, governments and businesses, to take the steps to find solutions to issues in their own communities. 

Council faces many challenges in forthcoming years that will be proactively addressed by maintaining financial discipline, building on our public and private partnerships, and collaborating to provide best value services to the community. Council’s Strategic Plan 2012-2017 sets out how Council will continue to do its share towards making the Northern Midlands a highly attractive place to live, work and invest. 

Vision

  • Northern Midlands communities will be vibrant, sustainable and resilient, promoting diversity and conserving the heritage values of our towns.
  • Our competitive strengths will attract more people to the municipality, increase employment, business activity and property values.
  • Our community pride will be based on co-operation and self help, evident by our care of natural and constructed assets and our leadership in environmental management.
  • Each community’s needs will be met with fair and appropriate quality services, creating high community satisfaction with Council’s performance and high employee morale and well-being.

Mission

Northern Midlands Council is committed to providing effective, innovative and efficient service to the community it represents. It aims to encourage active local communities of distinct character and to foster a sense of pride in the Northern Midlands area.

Guiding Principles

  • Respect for people
  • Highest levels of integrity and honesty
  • Open representation for all ratepayers and residents
  • Equitable distribution of services, costs and opportunities for all members of the community
  • Provide progressive community leadership by formulating clear, positive policies and strategies
  • Continuous quality improvement
  • Encourage community confidence through communication, consultation and participation
  • Consideration of economic, environmental and social sustainability when making decisions
  • Consistency – being fair and accountable in decision-making and actions
  • Commitment to working with facts and accurate data.

Code of Conduct

The overarching element of governance at Northern Midlands Council is the Code of Conduct. It is a requirement of the Local Government Act 1993, Section 28E that Council must adopt a code relating to the conduct of Councillors, with Regulation 22A of the Local Government (General) Regulations 2005 prescribing the specific elements to be included.

The Code of Conduct for Elected Members – Policy 47 can be accessed through the Policy Manual, Northern Midlands Council has also implemented a Code of Conduct for Employees – Policy 56 both of these policies ensure that elected members and employees understand Council’s expectations regarding appropriate conduct.

To view the Code of Conduct for Elected Members click here

Organisational Structure

At Northern Midlands Council the Executive Team is made up of the General Manager and four Business Unit Managers.  The following Organisational Structure provides additional detail regarding the structure of the Northern Midlands Council. 

Organisational Chart

Delegations

You can download Council's current delegations register by clicking on this link.

Council Meetings

Council meetings follow a formal structure and are governed by the Local Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 2005, to access these regulations click here. In addition, Northern Midlands Council has implemented a Meeting Policy (Policy Number 32) to assist with the regulation of meetings, to view the Policy Manual click here.
Northern Midland Council and Committee meetings are usually held at the Council Chambers in Smith Street Longford, with Ordinary meetings of Council being held monthly, in accordance with a predetermined schedule of meeting dates (published on the website).

Meetings commence at 5.00pm and public question time is held at 6.45pm when the gallery is invited by the Mayor to make representations on planning matters or to pose questions to Council.

Previous Council meeting information including Agendas, Agenda Attachments and Minutes are available on the Northern Midlands Council website. Meetings are open to the public except where there is discussion of confidential items which will be discussed in a closed meeting – for additional information regarding closed meetings refer to the Local Government Meeting Procedure Regulations.

Payments to Councillors

Section 340(2A) of the Local Government Act 1993 entitles Councillors to an allowance as prescribed in the regulations. In addition to this allowance, there is an additional allowance for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. For further information regarding these allowances please see the Local Government Act 1993 Section 340A.

The Local Government Division – Tasmania has released a publication to assist Councillors understand the payment of allowances. To access the Local Government Division’s Information Sheet regarding Councillor Allowances click here.

For specific information relating to the payment of allowances at Northern Midlands Council refer Policy 4 - Councillor Allowances, Travelling and Other Expenses in the Policy Manual.

Political Donations

Interestingly, Tasmania is the only state that does not require political donations and gifts in local government elections to be disclosed to the public. Regardless, the Northern Midlands Council – Code of Conduct for Elected Members (Policy 47) provides rules for Councillors regarding donations and benefits, click here to view this policy in the Policy Manual.

Councillors must ensure as part of their duties, they:

  • Never accept money under any circumstances, regardless of the amount.
  • Strive to avoid situations in which the appearance may be created that any person or body, through the provision of hospitality or benefits of any kind, is securing (or attempting to secure) a favour from you or the Council. Never accept any token or non token gift or benefit if you think that the gift is designed to influence you, or a fair observer might think that you could be influenced in the way you do your job as a result of the gift.
  • Do not accept gifts and benefits, other than token gifts, without ensuring it is disclosed and recorded in the Gifts Register in keeping with Council policies and procedures; Councillors must never demand or request any gift, or benefit for themselves or anyone else, in connection with Council work or public duties. Councillors must not give any gift or benefit if the gift or benefit is designed to influence another person, or a fair observer might think that the recipient could be influenced as a result of the gift or benefit.

Council Policies

This induction has identified a number of Council policies, it is important that Councillors have an understanding of the current suite of Council policies as they set the guidelines for Employees and Councillors to follow in accordance with Acts and Regulations.

To access Northern Midlands Council’s full Policy Manual click here. The policies with direct relevance to the role of Councillor include:

  • Councillor Expenses, Traveling and Other Expenses (Policy 4)
  • Meeting Procedures (Policy 32)
  • Privacy Policy (Policy 45)
  • Code of Conduct (Policy 47)
  • Recording Of Meetings (Policy 51)
  • Audit Committee (Policy 68)
  • Fraud & Corruption Control Policy (Policy 74)

Councillor Record Keeping & Administration

The Archives Act 1983 and Local Government Act 1993 require that Local Government Authorities, which includes Councils, make and keep full and accurate records of their activities.

Councillors are subject to the Act when they create or receive records while conducting council business. Records can be correspondence, emails, faxes, documents, plans, records of meetings, telephone conversations or text messages; and can be paper-based or electronic.

The Mayor and Councillors have some basic obligations:

  • create records of your work as Mayor or Councillor
  • follow Council's information management policies and procedures
  • protect records from unauthorised access
  • handle records with care and do not destroy records

To assist you to meet these obligations and protect your safety, Council has a standard inwards mail process. All hard copy mail relating to council business addressed to you that is received at Council will be:

  • opened in a controlled environment to screen for physical threats and prevent the spread of any harmful substances it may contain; and
  • recorded in Council's official record systems. The hard copy original of the contents are forwarded to you.

For records of official council business, including faxes and emails, you have received or created elsewhere you should send these to Council for information management storage and disposal in accordance with legislation.

The point of contact for assistance with this at Northern Midlands Council is the Executive Officer.

The Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office (TAHO) released Advice 49 – Recordkeeping for Local Government Councillors.

If further information is required after reading the advice in the link below, the TAHO can be contacted for further information on the following email address; grk@education.tas.gov.au.

Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan with its vision for the area is an essential part of Council’s role in providing leadership and guidance for the benefit of its citizens.  The Plan assists in the development of programs, services and future strategies for Local Government in the region.  It guides future directions of Council and acts as a catalyst to form financial, physical and human resource plans; and shapes the priorities Council places on future activities.

To view the Northern Midlands Council Strategic Plan click here

Annual Plan

The Annual Plan is based on the contents of the Strategic Plan and details the annual activities of Council and includes a list of projects that have been provided for in the budget.

To view the Northern Midlands Council Annual Plan click here.

Budget Financial Report

The Budget Financial Report provides an overview of the approved annual budget for the current financial year.

To view the current Northern Midlands Council Budget Financial Report click here.

Important Dates – Financial Management

The Budget process each year commences in March and includes:

  • Councillors and staff list projects/capital works for consideration and costing
  • A Budget item is placed on each Local District Committee’s agenda to identify community requests for consideration in budget deliberations
  • All major and new projects considered by Council during the year are listed for costings and inclusion into the Budget
  • Council sets Budget parameters
  • A draft budget is prepared with regard to
    • Strategic Planning
    • Budget parameters
    • Local District Committee requests
    • Capital Works programs
    • Departmental management and operational requirements
  • Council Bus Tour
  • Council set Rate Payment options
  • Council consider and revise the draft Budget
  • Budget is presented to Council for adoption
  • Rates and Charges are levied by 31 July

In recent years the following parameters have been adopted to frame the Budget:

  • Ongoing operational expenditure to be funded by annual rate income where possible
  • Government grants to be expended in the specific areas for which they are received (i.e. untied road grants spent on roads) for capital or special projects.  Financial Assistance grants expended on capital or special projects if possible
  • New services to be funded from new rates raised (such as the introduction of the rural waste collection service)
  • User pay principle to be used/introduced where possible
  • Cash reserve funds to be quarantined or committed to specific planned projects
  • General rate increases bear relationship to the LGAT calculated Local Government cost index, plus any adjustment required in accordance with Asset Management Plan funding for the Budget period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where and when are Council Meetings held? 
Council Meetings are held in accordance with a predetermined schedule of meeting dates (published on the website), in the Council Chamber which is located with in Council’s Administration Building at 13 Smith Street, Longford commencing at 5 pm.

Where do I park for Council Meetings?
There are limited parking spots available at the rear of the Council premises, if these are full then there is always on street parking available at the front of the building.

Where do I enter the main Council Building for Council Meetings?
Councillors can enter through the main entrance (if during business hours) or via the back entry from the car park at the rear of the building.

Am I allocated a key to access the Council building?
Councillors will not require a key to the building; the building will be unlocked and accessible if you are required to attend Council Meetings.

Where do I park if I need to attend a meeting at Council during business hours?
The car park at the rear of the building is more likely to be full during business hours; if a spot is available then Councillors are permitted to use this area when on official business.

What should I wear to Council Meetings?
Councillors are to maintain a professional standard of dress; smart casual attire is required.

Do I need to bring meals and/or drinks to Council Meetings?
Councillors have access to toilet and meal/drink amenities and breaks during Council Meetings, if meetings are conducted across normal meal times, then catering will be supplied. If you have any special dietary requirements please advise Council’s Executive Officer who will ensure that these requirements are met.

Where do I sit in the Council Chamber?
Every Councillor is allocated a designated seat around the table; your place will have a name plaque to indicate where you need to sit.

Am I provided with a computer to perform the role of Councillor?
Councillors are provided with an allowance for technology to purchase equipment in order to effectively perform the role of Councillor, an iPad is required to be purchased from this allowance.

If I am having ‘technology’ issues with my iPad who do I contact for help?
Council has an IT Officer who can be contacted on 6397 7303 for training and support.

Can I set up a ‘Councillor’ page on social media to communicate with the public?
If you choose to create a social media presence then you must be mindful of the restrictions on what you can and can’t say, it is important that you understand that you are not authorised to ‘comment’ on matters on behalf of Northern Midlands Council. It is recommended that you seek advice and understand your responsibilities before embarking on social media as a ‘Councillor’.

Do I need to provide my email address, private address and contact details to NMC for release to the public?
As a Councillor you will need to nominate your contact details, these will be publicly available to the community. It is up to you whether you choose to release your private home phone number or alternatively your mobile number and email address, it is important that you are accessible to the community but it is also important that you consider the impacts on your family if providing home as your preferred contact.

Do I have ‘Councillor’ business cards supplied by Northern Midlands Council?
Council will provide you with business cards; these will be arranged once you have nominated your contact details such as phone and email address. If you need to re-order business cards, these can be arranged with Council’s Executive Officer.

What happens to the mail I receive that is sent to Council?
Council has information management procedures that apply to any correspondence received. Formal business correspondence is recorded in Council’s information management system and then placed in your office collection point.

Is there administrative/secretarial support available at Council if I need to send a letter or draft an agenda item?
Council’s Executive Officer can assist with administrative support.  Any assistance will need to be prioritised in line with the other tasks that the Executive Officer is required to perform, so it is important that you pre-arrange any assistance to ensure that the Executive Officer can allocate the appropriate time to assist and meet any deadlines.

What reports are provided by Senior Management to Council Meetings?
Each Business Unit Manager at Northern Midlands Council is required to provide a monthly report for information, this report will be included in the Agenda and the Business Unit Manager will attend the meeting to discuss and respond to any questions.

Can I access documents stored in Council’s information management system?
Councillors are bound by privacy regulations and cannot freely access Council documents. There may be items that Councillors have a right to access but this access would be determined by the General Manager and are uploaded to Council’s secure site. If you would like to view/access any other Council document you will need to provide any such request in writing to the General Manager.

How long do I have to review the Agenda before each Council Meeting?
The Council Meeting Regulations require that the General Manager provide each Councillor with the agenda a minimum of 4 days before an ordinary Council Meeting and are made available on Council’s secure site for download to iPad.

What if I have an item to raise at a Council Meeting?
Councillors need to formally request that a report be prepared as an Agenda Item prior to the closing date for Agenda Items for the upcoming meeting. Councillors are provided with the list of closing dates for Agenda Items on an annual basis.
 
What if I am sick or unable to attend a Council Meeting(s)?
If you are unable to attend a Council Meeting you will need to inform the Mayor of your inability to attend and your absence will be noted as an apology.

What do I call the Chairperson at the Council Meeting?
Councillors must refer to the Chairperson by their title, such as Mayor or Deputy Mayor.

What is the protocol if I would like to speak at a Council Meeting?
Council Meetings are governed by legislation; you will be provided an opportunity to ask questions by the Chair of the meeting, who in the majority of circumstances will be the Mayor. It is up to the Chairperson to determine who speaks in what order.

Who do I contact at Council if I need information on a matter that a member of the public has asked me to look into?
Firstly, suggest that the member of the public contact the appropriate Council Officer. If this has already occurred and the member of the public is dissatisfied with the outcome, you could arrange a meeting with the General Manager raising the matter on behalf of the member of the public - providing details so that the General Manager can follow up on the matter.

What do I do if an employee approaches me about a matter at Council?
There is a policy governing Councillor and Employee communication. Councillors will need to advise the employee that they need to raise any issues with either their Manager or Human Resources. Alternatively, depending on the nature of the issue Councillors could suggest employee’s access the Employee Assistance Program for counselling, if appropriate.

What Work Health & Safety obligations do I have as a Councillor?
Councillors need to acquire and maintain knowledge of the legislative requirements, understand the nature of the operations of Council and the associated risks and hazards (at a level reasonable in relation to their position) and ensure appropriate resources and processes are in place.

When and how is my Allowance paid?
Your allowance will be automatically paid into your account once Northern Midlands Council has your bank details. Payments are made quarterly, however can be made fortnightly upon request.

Our Community

At the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics census, the Northern Midlands recorded 12,228 residents, with 60% of residents living in or near the northern towns of Longford, Perth, Evandale and the rural residential estate of Devon Hills.

New Residents

Northern Midlands Council encourages new residents to join their community. There is a ‘New Residents Kit’ containing information on the area including community groups and facilities, available to residents. This information is forwarded to all new ratepayers and can be accessed directly on the website or, on request a hard copy pack can be mailed out.

Click here to view the Northern Midlands Council - New Residents Kit information

Councillor Representation on Committees

Section 23 and 24 of The Local Government Act 1993 (Tasmania) states that Council may establish Committees to assist with the carrying out of its functions, the following link to the Act provides additional information: The Local Government Act 1993

Northern Midlands Council has appointed a number of Committees, details of which are on Council’s website. Each Committee includes at least one Councillor representative, as appointed by the Council.

Progress and Special Interest Groups

Progress and Special Interest Groups are created by community members to progress an area of interest. These progress or special interest groups bring together like minded individuals to lobby Council with the aim to progress a particular issue or agenda. The types of special interest or progress groups may include ‘Rate Payers’ who are dissatisfied with an action/s of Council or a ‘Lobby Group’ who are keen for Council to progress a particular development in their area. As a Councillor you may receive a request to meet or receive written communications from these groups; it is important to understand that these progress or special interest groups are not a ‘Committee’ as above, but a group created externally to Council.

Volunteers

Northern Midlands Council has a number of Volunteers who work through out the organisation. Community members wishing to pursue an interest in becoming a Council Volunteer should contact Council's Executive Officer for further information.

Annual Community Events

A number of community events are held annually in the Northern Midlands, the dates and types of events change from time to time, to learn more about what is happening in the Northern Midlands municipal area click the link below.

Click here to access the Northern Midlands Council – Calendar of Events

Australia Day Celebrations and Awards

The Northern Midlands Council Australia Day Honour Roll monument is located at Victoria Square (Village Green) at Longford.

The Honour Roll commemorates the centenary of Rotary International (1905-2005) and displays the names of the Northern Midlands Council Australia Day Award recipients since 1994; and was jointly funded by the Rotary Club of Longford and the Northern Midlands Council.

To view the plaques on the Honour Roll click here

Other Awards

For information on other Northern Midland Council Awards click here

Citizenship Ceremonies

Northern Midlands Council in partnership with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship conducts Citizenship Ceremonies for new Australians. Citizenship ceremonies are held throughout the year on an ‘as required’ basis; in addition a Citizenship Ceremony is held annually in conjunction with Council’s Australia Day celebrations.

Click here for further citizenship information from The Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Our Lifestyle

Many residents choose to live in the Northern Midlands for the relaxed country lifestyle in or near our heritage towns and villages, whilst being close enough to the city of Launceston to access and enjoy the urban services, educational facilities and workplaces. 

The Northern Midlands’ heritage towns, magnificent Georgian architecture, picturesque countryside,  antiques and speciality shops, variety of eating and meeting places, trout fishing, family events, festivals, country shows, strong arts community,  and World Heritage Listed convict built Brickendon and Woolmers Estates make  the area attractive to visitors and locals alike. 

Council is committed to ensuring our communities are vibrant, sustainable and resilient whilst promoting their diversity and conserving the heritage values of our historic properties and landscape.

Our Location

The Administration Offices of the Northern Midlands Council are situated at 13 Smith Street Longford. The Northern Midlands municipality covers the northern midland region of Tasmania traversing a diverse landscape; additional information regarding the area and landscape can be found on our website.

Click here to view the Northern Midlands Council website

As a Councillor at Northern Midlands Council you will be representing the community and it is important that you have an understanding of the townships and areas that comprise the Northern Midlands municipal area.

The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) provides information regarding the Tasmanian Local Government Areas and the boundaries of each municipality in the state, to see this map refer the LGAT website link provided:

LGAT Municipal Boundaries Map

Our History

The following link to our website provides some historical information regarding the amalgamation and creation of Northern Midlands Council and the diverse townships and landscapes which make up our municipality.  

Northern Midlands Council - Historical Information

Community Context - Profile

The Northern Midlands Council was created on the 2nd April 1993 from the merger of the former Municipalities of Longford, Evandale, Campbell Town and Ross, together with the towns of Rossarden, Avoca and Royal George from the Fingal municipality.

It covers an area of 5,130 square kilometres, extending from Liffey Bluff in the west to Mount St John in the east (150 kms) and from Relbia in the north to Tooms Lake in the south (95 kms). 

Northern Midlands is one of the largest and most diverse municipal areas in Tasmania. It ranges from mountainous country on its eastern and western boundaries to extensive grazing lands renowned for fine wool production, the rich agricultural river flats of the Esk, Lake and Macquarie Rivers; historic towns and villages, and from small businesses to multi-million dollar enterprises. Many of the towns and villages have distinctive heritage qualities which make them attractive places to live. The population of the Northern Midlands was estimated to be 12,741 by the 2012 ABS figures (2011 -12,228). This was 2.5% of the estimated State population that totalled 512,333.

The following link to the Australian Bureau of Statistics provides the most recent statistical information relating to the Northern Midlands municipality; and includes a profile of the community across the region by population, economy, industry, energy and environment;

Click here to view the Australian Bureau of Statistics – Northern Midlands Municipality

The above link also provides links to additional statistics on previous year's data to enable comparisons regarding decline and/or growth areas.

Our Environment

The Northern Midlands is one of the largest and most diverse municipal areas in Tasmania. It covers an area of 5,130 sq kms, extending from Liffey Bluff in the west to Mt St John in the east, and from Relbia in the north to Tooms Lake in the south. It ranges from mountainous country on its eastern and western boundaries, to extensive grazing lands renowned for fine wool production and the rich agricultural river flats of the Esk, Lake and Macquarie Rivers.

Planning

The planning process focuses particularly on the impact of a proposal on the site and neighbouring land, including but not limited to the following types of issues:

  • Does it comply with Planning Scheme requirements?
  • Is it located an appropriate distance from boundaries?
  • Is the scale and size appropriate for the area?
  • Are there adequate vehicle-maneuvering & parking areas?
  • Does it create any access or traffic safety issues?
  • Are the hours of operation appropriate for the area?
  • Are there any environmental constraints?

Land Use - Planning & Approvals Process

There are a number of key State legislations which make up Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning System.  As a result all activities are defined as either a ‘use’ or ‘development’. 

It is a requirement under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) that Northern Midlands Council prepare a planning scheme for its municipal district to regulate all uses and developments.  The planning scheme prepared by the Council and any subsequent amendments are subject to a statutory process and also subject to the approval of the Tasmanian Planning Commission (Commission).  Once approved, the planning scheme is a legal document to which Council and the community are bound to follow.

Click here for further information on the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

Interim Planning Scheme

As part of the State Government’s planning reform package, a Statewide Template was issued.  This template provided the format, including zones and definitions that were required to be adhered to by all future planning schemes in the State.

The Northern Midlands Council Interim Planning Scheme has been declared for the municipal area and became effective from Saturday 1 June 2013.

Click here to view the Northern Midlands Council Interim Planning Scheme

Planning Permits

All uses and developments are controlled by the Council’s planning scheme under Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 the Council is given responsibility as the ‘Planning Authority’ to consider planning permits.  As the Planning Authority, the Council is required to determine planning applications in accordance with the planning scheme and any other relevant legislation.

Click here to access the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993

If an applicant or representative disagrees with a planning decision made by Northern Midlands Council they may appeal the decision to the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal).  The Tribunal are the final arbitrators and their decision is binding on all parties (except on points of law which may be taken to the Supreme Court).  The Tribunal have the authority to make any decision they consider appropriate and to award costs (although the awarding of costs is extremely rare).

Click here to visit the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal (RMPAT)

The Local Government Association of Tasmania’s Councillor Resource Kit provides more information on Tasmania’s Planning System which applies to Local Government in Tasmania.

What is Natural Resource Management?

The term ‘natural resources’ refers to environmental assets including air, water, land, plants, animals and micro-organisms. Individual assets are not isolated; however, they are linked together to form natural systems of varying scale such as rivers, lakes and wetlands, estuaries and coasts, forests, fields, geological systems and resources, and mountains.

Natural resource management reflects these linkages within and between natural systems. It integrates the management of social, economic and environmental values by involving the community and industry in planning and decision making.

Natural resource management is fundamentally about people. The success of natural resource management is ultimately determined by the level of community involvement and the adoption of ecologically sustainable practices across the community.

Natural Resource Management in Australia

Natural Resource Management has been fostered and developed in Australia over the past two decades by a number of Government programs, both Commonwealth and State, and through regional and local initiatives.

Funding assistance and support has been directed to hundreds of natural resource management projects and has encouraged broad community involvement: marshalling the commitment of community groups, land holders and land managers, all three tiers of government, as well as bodies dedicated to NRM program delivery.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) describes the sustainable management of our natural resources (our land, water, marine and biological systems). The sustainable management of natural resources is vital if we are to ensure our ongoing social, economic and environmental wellbeing.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) services are provided by Northern Midlands Council through a partnership with NRM North, the Regional NRM Organisation for Northern Tasmania.

This partnership has provided a Natural Resource Management Facilitator that is based in Longford to assist the Community.

These services take the form of:

  • Support for community groups who undertake environmental activities e.g. Tasmanian Landcare Association;
  • Property management planning (delivered via NRM North);
  • Support for landholders who wish to undertake natural resource management activities such as fencing of creeks and remnant bush, re-vegetation and weed control;
  • Advice to new landholders who wish to find out more about the environmental aspects of their land;
  • Environmental monitoring; and
  • Community Education.
Our Economy

The Northern Midlands has a diverse and expanding economy. There are many business and investment opportunities in most industry sectors, particularly in the core industries of agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and services. Our local government area has the third highest total value of agricultural production in the state, with the ABS data 2011 recording a value of $130.58 million (not including forestry and livestock sold interstate).

Business Support

The State Government’s Department of State Growth has developed The Business Tasmania site providing business information and support. The site includes assistance with:

  • Starting a business
  • Growing and improving your business
  • Managing customers and suppliers
  • Employing and managing people
  • Finances, tax and insurance
  • Becoming more energy efficient
  • What is e-business?
  • How and who to develop a business plan
  • Grants and assistance finder
  • Links to the Australian Business Account and Licence Information Service

Click here to visit the Business Tasmania website

The following are some examples of successful businesses and industries in the Northern Midlands municipality:

TRANSlink Precinct
  • Australia Pacific Airports operates Launceston Airport;
  • Statewide Independent Wholesalers' Tasmanian distribution food cool store;
  • Haywards Engineering, one of Tasmania's leading steel fabrication and construction companies.
Longford
  • Austral Bricks operates a large ceramic brick making factory;
  • JBS Swift Australia operates an export abattoir;
  • The historic properties of Woolmers Estate and Brickendon at Longford have achieved World Heritage Convict Site status by UNESCO.
Powranna/Burlington Road
  • Petuna Aquaculture
  • Burlington Berries
  • Tasmanian Quality Meats
Other
  • Poatina Resort Village, a superb tourist venue, is a provider of nationally accredited training courses, and an innovative employment program for young people;
  • The award winning Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company at Evandale processes and exports a wide range of sauces; and
  • The numerous vast agricultural enterprises of the Northern Midlands Council area.

The sustainable competitive business advantages of the Northern Midlands municipality include:

  • Transport accessibility as the district straddles the northern half of the Midland Highway connecting Hobart and Launceston; and has excellent access and transport modes;
  • TRANSlink adjacent to the Launceston Airport is a high quality industrial, business and transport precinct with substantial land available for further development (the precinct has already attracted in excess of 40 businesses);
  • Extensive rich agricultural land with the potential for further development and intensification utilising irrigation;
  • Sensitively preserved historic villages with strong heritage appeal are attracting a greater share of the tourist market and have the potential for further developments and growth;
  • The Ben Lomond National Park, towering over the district, is the State's largest single alpine area. The park is a spectacular place to walk, view wildflowers and wildlife, and to ski. The park offers commercial development opportunities;
  • Country living in close proximity to Launceston and its regional services.

Launceston Airport TRANSlink Project

Northern Midlands Council has developed the precinct which is adjacent and surrounding Launceston Airport – the largest freight operation in Tasmania. Many companies have already identified and taken advantage of TRANSlink’s strategic location and its user-friendly planning scheme, and highly competitive rating and fees schedule.

  • It is centrally located to a range of transport modes. It is only 2 hours by road or rail to all other major centres in the state; less than 1 hour by air to Melbourne and less than 2 hours by road to a deep water port.
  • Has extensive flat sites zoned for industrial use
  • It has a ‘user-friendly’ planning scheme that fast tracks development
  • It has excellent service infrastructure
  • It is separated from residential areas
  • It is a high quality development including landscaping and site planning requirements
  • It has highly competitive rating and fees schedules.

Northern Midlands Business Association (NMBA)

The Northern Midlands Business Association (NMBA) was formed in 1999 and works to promote economic development in the Northern Midlands through the fostering, promotion and development of local businesses.

Click here to visit the Northern Midlands Business Association website  

Heritage Highway

The Heritage Highway – Tourism Region Tasmania showcases the region surrounding Tasmania’s first main road including many areas of the Northern Midlands Council municipality.

Click here to visit the Heritage Highway website

Tourism Northern Tasmania

Tourism Northern Tasmania (TNT) is the regional tourism organisation for Northern Tasmania, funded by participating councils and Tourism Tasmania. 

Although funded by Councils and Tourism Tasmania, TNT is an industry-led organisation working in partnership with Local Tourism Associations within the region, providing opportunities for greater collaboration in the areas of; destination marketing, visitor information provision, investment attraction and product development, industry skills development, and advocacy on behalf of our industry.   

Click here to learn more about Tourism Northern Tasmania