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Blue Mountains City Public Inquiry

On 27 June 2018 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP announced a formal Public Inquiry into Blue Mountains City Council.

The terms of reference for the Inquiry are:

To inquire and report to the Minister for Local Government with respect to whether:

  1. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 23 and 24 of the LG Act, the Council and its governing body has since 2012 dealt with, and is dealing with, asbestos management issues at the Council in accordance with the guiding principles in section 8A(1)(a), (c) and (2)(c), (e) and the role of the governing body in section 223(1)(a), (b), (d), (g), (h) and (l) of that Act.
  2. In exercising their functions pursuant to Part 2 of Chapter 9 of the LG Act, the mayor and councillors of the Council have since 2012 exercised, and are exercising, a reasonable degree of care and diligence in dealing with asbestos management issues at the Council in accordance with section 439(1) of the Local Government Act 1993.
  3. In exercising their functions pursuant to Parts 1 and 2 of Chapter 11 of the LG Act, the Council and its governing body has since 2012 determined to employ and/or engage Mr Mark Mulligan, Mr John Hargreaves and other staff or contractors in accordance with the guiding principles in section 8A(1)(a) and (2)(e) and the role of the governing body in section 223(1)(j) and (l), as well as section 349 of that Act.
  4. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 23 and 24 of the LG Act, the Council’s process of engaging Clyde & Co and McCullough Robertson lawyers (through McPhee Kelshaw solicitors and conveyancers), including with respect to management of any conflicts of interest, to conduct independent investigations into asbestos related incidents and employment issues, respectively, was in accordance with the guiding principles in sections 8A(1)(b), (h), (2)(e) and 8B and the role of the governing body in section 223(1)(c) and (l) of that Act.
  5. In exercising functions pursuant to section 24 and Part 3 of Chapter 13 of the LG Act, the Council and its governing body has since 2012 made funding decisions so as to address asbestos management in accordance with the guiding principles in sections 8A(1)(b) and 8B and the role of the governing body in s. 223(1)(c) and (l) of that Act.
  6. In exercising functions pursuant to Parts 1 and 2 of Chapter 11 of the LG Act, the Council and its governing body since 2012 has facilitated, and is facilitating, a consultative and supportive working environment in accordance with the guiding principle in section 8A(1)(i) and the role of the governing body in section 223(1)(i), (j) and (l) of that Act.
  7. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 23 and 24 of the LG Act, the Council has co-operated, and is co-operating, effectively with State government agencies in addressing asbestos management issues in accordance with the guiding principle in section 8A(1)(e) and the role of the governing body in section 223(1)(l) of that Act.
  8. In exercising functions pursuant to Parts 1 and 2 of Chapter 11 and Part 2 of Chapter 13 of the LG Act, the governing body and the senior staff of the Council has determined, reviewed and re-determined an appropriate organisational structure and resource allocation in accordance with the guiding principle in section 8A(1)(c), (2)(c) and the role of the governing body in section 223(1)(g), (h) and (l) of that Act.
  9. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 23 and 24 of the LG Act, the response of Council and the governing body to the asbestos management issues raised in 2017 has been and is in accordance with the guiding principle in section 8A(1)(a) and the role of the governing body in section 223(1)(b), (g), (h), (k) and (l) of  that Act.

The Commissioner may make recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit having regard to the outcomes of the Inquiry, including whether all civic offices at Blue Mountains City Council should be declared vacant.

The Inquiry will be limited to matters relating to the carrying out of provisions of the LG Act, in recognition that the carrying out of certain other legislative provisions is the subject of separate investigation and/or regulatory action by SafeWork NSW and the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

The Minister for Local Government approved the appointment of Richard Beasley SC as Commissioner to undertake the Inquiry.

Please see the attached information paper for more details about the conduct of the Inquiry:

 

Contact Details

 

 

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