Report gives NTD `direction’

ECONOMIC development should be one of the major drivers for Northern Tasmania Development in the future, according to a performance report on the organisation, released yesterday. It was one of a number of recommendations made in KMPG’s final performance report. The report also said that NTD must improve its relations with key shareholders and stakeholders to reach its full potential as an effective regional development organisation. The 51-page document made recommendations in the areas of regional development, strategic planning, governance, operations, stakeholder relations and its financial situation. It urged NTD to establish a time-frame to address the matters. It found that many shareholders had concerns relating to poor communication and the “perceived forceful style of the previous chief executive officer”. Former chief executive Andrew Eastick resigned late last year and the organisation appointed Robert Wallace as interim CEO. “The appointment of a new chief executive officer with an emphasis on a collegiate and collaborative style should ameliorate much of the tension,” the report said. Mr Wallace said the report has given NTD a clear direction for the future, and the recommendations would be used as a checklist to start consultation with its shareholders and stakeholders. “NTD and shareholders have been working closer in the past three to four months to fix the problem and bridge the gaps of communication,” he said. “We believe we have good fertile ground to move forward on.” The review of the organisation was brought forward after the Launceston City Council, the Meander Valley Council and the Northern Midlands Council refused to commit future funding in June last year, unless it proved it was an effective regional body. The Launceston City Council’s general manager and Mayor were on holidays and not available for comment yesterday, but Northern Midlands Council general manager Mark Pitt said in the past six months the council’s relations with NTD had been extremely positive. “The council will be considering the report at its January meeting and looking forward to more positive relations with NTD over the next 12 months,” he said. George Town Council, one of the five councils to commit to future funding till 2010, welcomed the document and urged the other councils to support the organisation. “We as a council feel it important to all pull together to ensure we have a strong region,” Mayor Doug Burt said. “If Launceston and the other major councils decide not to get involved it would make it more difficult to be a strong organisation. “We see NTD as a worthwhile investment which has a keen focus on economic development and has great success in tourism development.”

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