Blue Mountains News

Mayor Welcomes Further Consideration by Local Government Minister

Source: Blue Mountains City Council
Archived 27 Aug 2018 - Posted: 28 Jun 2018
The proceedings commenced by the Council against the Minister for Local Government, Gabrielle Upton MP, were the subject of a short directions hearing on Tuesday, before the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Prior to the directions hearing, the Minister informed the Council, that with effect from the end of the 7 day stay ordered by the Court of Appeal, the Minister will, during a further period of 7 days expiring on 4 July, give the Council 48 hours’ notice if the Minister proposes to act to suspend the elected Council.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said, “I welcome the Minister’s further consideration of this matter. I know that the Minister is giving this careful consideration.”

“We are at an important juncture in this matter,” he said. “Essentially, there are three issues at hand.

“Has the Council met the requirements of the Performance Improvement Order (PIO), issued by the Minister on 22 January 2018, in place of the first Notice of Intention to suspend the elected Council? Yes it has.

“We have completed all actions required to be completed to date. We are progressing with all of the Council's continuing obligations under the PIO.

“Did the past associations of independent investigator Mr Tooma and former Council employee Mr Mulligan present a conflict of interest or perceived bias in conducting the investigation into Council’s management of asbestos? No, they did not.

“We have demonstrated that the independent investigation was conducted appropriately. Mr Mulligan was not the subject of the investigation. That investigation was directed to the Council as an organisation and did not investigate individuals.

“Are there any findings against the elected Council? No, there are not. The elected Council initiated a comprehensive, independent investigation into asbestos management by BMCC. The elected body has been cleared of any wrongdoing by this investigation.

“Given our actions to date in relation to its management of asbestos and safety systems, and the continuing proper and effective functioning of the Council, the temporary suspension of the Council, and the consequent removal of the elected Council, is clearly not warranted."

The Mayor said he is overwhelmed by the support of the local government sector for the Council to remain in office.

“This issue is, I believe, a matter of interest to all councils in NSW and to the local government sector more broadly,” he said. “Any move to suspend this Council would alarm the entire local government sector in NSW.

“Both the local government sector and the Blue Mountains community value an effective, democratic system of local government across NSW.”

 
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