A key role of the Office of Local Government is to investigate serious breakdowns in council operations. We have two ways of doing this under the Local Government Act – section 430 investigations and section 438U public inquiries.
Under section 438U, the Minister for Local Government has the power to appoint a commissioner to conduct a public inquiry into a council. This is a necessary step before a council can be dismissed. The Minister may order an inquiry at any time or as a result of a section 430 investigation.
Public inquiries are essential if a council becomes dysfunctional through maladministration, corruption or some other reason. After the inquiry process, the Minister may appoint an administrator.