On 26 April 2021, the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP announced a formal Public Inquiry into Central Coast Council.
The terms of reference for the Inquiry are:
To inquire and report to the Minister for Local Government with respect to whether:
- In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 21, 22, 23, 23A and 24 of the LG Act, the governing body met its obligations in a manner consistent with sections 8A(1)(b), 8B(a), 8B(c) and 8B(d) of the LG Act, particularly in relation to:
a. Whether the governing body acted in a manner that maximised the success of gaining efficiencies and financial savings from the merger process,
b. Whether the governing body disregarded the financial consequences of its decisions, and
c. Whether the governing body’s decisions since 2017 contributed to the financial position which the Council now finds itself in.
- In exercising its functions pursuant to section 223 of the LG Act, the governing body ensured:
a. As far as possible, that decisions taken by it had regard to the financial sustainability of the council, and
b. That it kept under review the performance of the council, including that council spending was responsible and sustainable by aligning general revenue and expenses.
- Any other matter that warrants mention, particularly those that may impact on the effective administration of Council’s functions and responsibilities or the community’s confidence in the Council being able to do so.
The Commissioner may make recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit having regard to the outcomes of the Inquiry, including whether all civic offices at Central Coast Council should be declared vacant.
The Minister for Local Government approved the appointment of Roslyn McCulloch as Commissioner to undertake the Inquiry.