|Derwent Valley mayor Martyn Evans and|
Central Highlands mayor Deirdre Flint
in Perth earlier today.
Mr Hutchinson convened the meeting at his office in Perth. Present were mayors and acting mayors from councils across the north and south of the state as well as state government representatives.
"I wanted to provide a forum for the three tiers of government to communicate because by cooperating we have a better chance to deliver what is needed to communities across Lyons," Mr Hutchinson said.
Each of the mayors outlined the particular needs of their municipalities and the type of support they were seeking from federal and state governments. Common needs included funding for bridges as councils seek to replace ageing wooden structures in large rural municipalities.
"There was general consensus that the cost of living relating to both water and power was crippling their communities," Mr Hutchinson said. "One mayor said that ratepayers in his municipality were paying more for water than they paid for rates," he said.
"There was broad support from all councils and the State Government for legalising the growing of industrial hemp for human consumption. I was able to advise the meeting that I have written to all the state and territory health ministers as well as Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton and have spoken in Parliament this week urging those responsible for deciding what will happen about industrial hemp to cut through the bureaucratic bungling and make a decision sooner rather than later.’’
Other issues that generated strong discussion at the meeting included Bass Strait shipping and renewable energy. Mayors and acting mayors attending the inaugural meeting included Martyn Evans (Derwent Valley Council), Deidre Flint (Central Highlands Council), Craig Perkins (Meander Valley Council), Barry Easther (West Tamar Council), David Downie (Northern Midlands Council), Tony Bisdee (Southern Midlands Council), Mike Gaffney MLC (Latrobe Council), Bertrand Cadart (Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council), Don Thwaites (Kentish Council) and Kerry Vincent (Sorell Council).
Also at the meeting were state Lyons Liberal MHAs Guy Barnett and Mark Shelton. Mr Hutchinson said that the mayors had agreed to meet again after the next local government elections at the end of the year.