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Local government reform in Tasmania 1906-1939: with special reference to the North West Coast.


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Rootes, G (2004) Local government reform in Tasmania 1906-1939: with special reference to the North West Coast. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis examines local government reform in Tasmania primarily between 1906 and
1939. The Local Government Act 1906 gave the state for the first time a comprehensive
system of municipal government. This Act arose from the economic pressures placed on
the new state government by federation. The government had tried several times to
impose a more efficient system on the island, but failed due to an obstinate Legislative
Council and strident opposition from local bodies. The 1906 Act was a compromise
between the aim of the government for greater economy and efficiency and the desire of
local bodies to preserve their existing interests. After the first world war, the Tasmanian
municipal system gradually suffered from increasing overheads, lower revenues, and the
revolution in motor-transport. This led some municipal councils into financial difficulties
in the 1930s. During this decade the state government came under pressure from the
Commonwealth government to reform its administrative practices. Faced with some
ailing municipalities, the government appointed a Royal Commission in 1939 to review
the 1906 Act and suggest some measures of improving the system. The outcome of this
process was the lacklustre Local Government Act 1940. The purpose of this thesis is to
examine the pressure for such reform and suggest why substantial changes was not
Given the large scope of the subject, and with due regard to the limitations on research
time and writing space, the focus is on one region, the North West, and, in particular, the
Devonport and Leven councils, as case studies in which to draw general conclusions
concerning reform in the chosen period. Space has also limited any detailed comparison
of Tasmania's expenence during this time with the municipal systems elsewhere III
Chapters one and two give a broad outline of the process that led to the passing of the
1906 Act. Chapter three examines the attachment to the community of interest principle
on the North West and its consequences for municipal reform. Chapter four explores
regionalism on the North West after the first world war. Chapter five and six examines
the stresses put on the municipal system in the post-war period and the government's
attempts at reform. The last chapter studies the proceedings and outcome of the 1939
Royal Commission.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2013 01:31
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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