Previous Public Inquiries

Information relating to previous Public Inquiries.

  • Balranald Shire Council Public Inquiry (2019)

    On 24 January 2019, the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP announced a formal Public Inquiry into Balranald Shire Council.

    The terms of reference for the Inquiry were:

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

    1. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the LG Act, the governing body is meeting its obligations to provide strong and effective leadership in a manner consistent with the guiding principles set out in sections 8A, 8B and 8C of the LG Act, including whether its leadership with respect to Council’s management of its responsibilities relating to long term financial planning, public land management and provision of services is appropriate;
    2. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the LG Act Council is meeting its obligations to act as a responsible employer, providing a safe, consultative and supportive working environment for the general manager and other staff in a manner consistent with the guiding principles set out in section 8A(1)(i) of the LG Act and any other statutory requirements considered relevant;
    3. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 21, 22, 23 and 24 and Part 2, Divisions 2 and 3 of Chapter 9 of the LG Act, the governing body’s Mayor and councillors’ conduct and decision-making both collectively and/or individually demonstrates an understanding of their role under sections 226 and 232 of the LG Act.
    4. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the LG Act, the governing body acts in accordance with the guiding principles set out in section 8A of the LG Act including whether the governing body commands the confidence of its community.
    5. In exercising its functions pursuant to sections 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the LG Act, Council has complied with its obligations as Reserve Trust Manager under the Crown Lands Act 1989 of the Balranald Caravan Park.
    6. 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 Balranald Shire Council should be declared vacant.

    The Minister for Local Government approved the appointment of Roslyn McCulloch as Commissioner to undertake the Inquiry.

    On 29 January 2020, the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Shelley Hancock MP tabled Commissioner McCulloch’s report in the NSW Parliament. A copy of the Commissioner’s report is available on the website.

  • Auburn City Council Public Inquiry (2016)

    On 21 January 2016 the then Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, announced a formal Public Inquiry into Auburn City Council.

    The terms of reference for the Inquiry were:

    To inquire and report on the following matters relating to Auburn City Council:

    1. Whether the Council and its elected representatives have complied with applicable laws, Council’s adopted Code of Conduct, the Procedures for the Administration of the Code of Conduct, relevant planning legislation and Council’s administrative rules and policies and have fulfilled its and their legislative duties, powers and functions;
    2. Whether the relationships between councillors are conducted properly to ensure that individuals do not receive favourable treatment from decisions made by the elected Council or by Council staff;
    3. Whether the governing body commands the community’s confidence, and will continue to be in a position, to direct and control the affairs of Council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, so that Council may fulfill the charter, provisions and intent of the Local Government Act 1993 and otherwise fulfill its statutory functions; and
    4. Any other matters that warrant inquiry, 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 such recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit having regard to the outcomes of the Inquiry.

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

    On 9 March 2017, Minister for Local Government, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP tabled Commissioner Beasley’s report in the NSW Parliament. A copy of the Commissioner’s report is available:

  • Murray Shire Council Public Inquiry (2016)

    On 15 January 2016 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, announced a formal Public Inquiry into Murray Shire Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry were:

    To inquire and report on the following matters relating to Murray Shire Council:

    1. Whether the elected representatives and staff have, since the appointment of the current General Manager, complied with applicable laws, codes, administrative procedures and policies and have fulfilled its and their duties, powers and functions particularly in relation to the relationships between councillors, the General Manager and senior and other staff of Council.
    2. Whether the Council has, since the appointment of the current General Manager, complied with its work, health and safety obligations as the General Manager’s employer.
    3. Whether the elected representatives have been and will continue to be in a position to direct and control the affairs of Council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993 and other relevant Acts, so that Council may fulfil its charter, the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 and otherwise fulfil its statutory functions and obligations;
    4. 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 such recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit having regard to the outcomes of the Inquiry.

    Mr Anthony Hudson was appointed as Commissioner to undertake the Inquiry.

    On 9 March 2017, the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, tabled Commissioner Hudson’s report in the NSW Parliament. A copy of Commissioner’s report is available:

  • North Sydney Council Public Inquiry (2016)

    On 21 January 2016 the then Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, announced a formal Public Inquiry into North Sydney Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire and report to the Minister for Local Government on the following matters relating to North Sydney Council:

    1. Whether the elected representatives have been, since December 2013, and will continue to be, in a position to direct and control the affairs of Council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, so that Council may fulfil its charter, the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 and otherwise fulfil its statutory functions, and
    2. Whether, since December 2013, the Council and its elected representatives have complied with applicable laws, Council’s adopted Code of Conduct, the Procedures for the Administration of the Code of Conduct, Council’s Code of Meeting Principles and Practice and Council’s administrative rules and policies and have fulfilled its and their legislative duties, powers and functions particularly with respect to their relationships with each other and with senior and other staff of Council.
    3. The Commissioner may make such recommendations as he sees fit having regard to the outcomes of the Inquiry.

    The then Minister approved the appointment of Mr Thomas Howard SC as Commissioner to undertake the Inquiry. Mr Howard specialises in the areas of environmental law, urban planning and local government law.

    On 9 March 2017, the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, tabled Commissioner Howard’s report in the NSW Parliament. A copy of Commissioner’s report is available:

  • Central Darling Shire Council Public Inquiry (2014)

    On 19 June 2014 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, announced a public inquiry into Central Darling Shire Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry are:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government as to whether all civic offices at Central Darling Shire Council should be declared vacant.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. Whether the Council has properly carried out its functions of financial management, asset management, legislative compliance and community leadership.
      • In view of the range and complexity of management issues, whether the elected Council has the capacity to resolve the outstanding issues and establish a sound foundation for the future sustainability of the Council.
        • Any other matters that warrant mention, particularly where they may impact on the effective administration of the Council area.

    The Commissioner may make such other recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit.”

    The Minister has appointed Mr Richard Colley as Commissioner to undertake the Inquiry. Mr Colley is currently Chair of the NSW Local Government Grants Commission. Mr Colley has had a successful career in both the private and public sector. Mr Colley conducted the Public Inquiry into Shellharbour City Council in 2008.

    Appointed Commissioner: Mr Richard Colley

  • Shellharbour City Council Public Inquiry (2008)

    On 3rd April 2008 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Lynch MP, announced a public inquiry into Shellharbour City Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government as to whether all civic offices at Shellharbour City Council should be declared vacant.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. The conduct of the elected representatives of council (whether individually or collectively as the governing body of council) including their relationships with senior and other staff of council.
    2. Whether the elected representatives fully understand their roles and responsibilities and have adequately, appropriately and reasonably carried out their roles and responsibilities in the best interests of all ratepayers and residents.
    3. Any other matters that warrant mention, particularly when it may impact on the effective administration of the council area.

    The Commissioner may make other recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit”. 

  • Brewarrina Council Public Inquiry (2007)

    On 24 August 2007, the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Lynch MP, announced a second public inquiry into Brewarrina Shire Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations as to whether all civic offices at Brewarrina Shire Council should be declared vacant. The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. The adequacy of Council’s performance since the release of the Public Inquiry report into Brewarrina Shire Council dated 2 December 2005, in particular in addressing the following issues of concern identified in the report:
    2. Council’s relationship with the local community and in particular its relationship with the local indigenous community and the Community Working Party
    3. The capacity of the elected council to effectively conduct council meetings in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993, the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 and Council’s code of meeting practice and
    4. The performance of Council’s administration in establishing and maintaining appropriate systems and policies to deliver efficient and effective governance of the council area and in managing Council’s finances including appropriate control of expenditure and undertaking appropriate revenue raising activities.

    Any other matters that warrant mention, particularly when it may impact on the effective administration of the Council area and/or the working relationships between the Council, councillors and its administration. The Commissioner may make such other recommendations as he sees fit.”

    Appointed Commissioner: Mr John Davies.

  • Port Macquarie Hastings Public Inquiry (2007)

    On 27 July 2007 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Lynch MP, announced a formal public inquiry into Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government as to whether all civic offices at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council should be declared vacant.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. whether the Council exercised prudent financial and project management regarding the planning and development of the infrastructure project known as “The Glasshouse”
    2. whether the Council properly considered what impact the Glasshouse project would have on the ongoing ability of Council to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities to the community
    3. whether the Council properly consulted and engaged with its community and exercised appropriate openness and transparency in its decision making for approving and undertaking the Glasshouse infrastructure project
    4. any other matter that warrants mention, particularly where it may impact on the effective administration of the area and/or the management of and working relationships within the Council.

    The Commissioner may make such other recommendations as he sees fit.”

    Appointed Commissioner: Mr Frank Willan.

  • Broken Hill City Council Public Inquiry (2006)

    On 21 September 2006 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Kerry Hickey MP, announced a formal public inquiry into Broken Hill City Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government as to whether all civic offices at Broken Hill City Council should be declared vacant.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. The conduct of the elected representatives of council (whether individually or collectively as the governing body of council) including their relationships with senior and other staff of council.
    2. Whether the elected representatives fully understand their roles and responsibilities and have adequately, appropriately and reasonably carried out their roles and responsibilities in the best interest of all ratepayers and residents
    3. Any other matters that warrant mention, particularly when it may impact on the effective administration of the council area.

    The Commissioner may make other recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit.”

    Appointed Commissioner: Hon David Simmons OAM.

  • Brewarrina Shire Council Public Inquiry (2005)

    On 22nd June 2005 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Tony Kelly MLC, announced a formal public inquiry into Brewarrina Shire Council.

    The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government on the efficiency and effectiveness of the governance of Brewarrina Shire Council.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. Whether the elected representatives fully understand their role and responsibilities and have adequately, appropriately and reasonably carried out their responsibilities in the best interests of all ratepayers and residents.
    2. Whether the practices and procedures adopted by the Council in the conduct of its meetings comply with the Local Government Act 1993, the Local Government (Meetings) Regulation 1999 and the Council’s adopted Code of Meeting Practice, and whether the Council’s adopted Code of Meeting Practice itself complies with the Act and Regulation.
    3. Whether the Council’s other policies and codes in relation to its governance adopted under the Local Government Act and Regulations comply with the Local Government Act and Regulations.
    4. The appropriateness of the procedures and processes adopted by Council in relation to its environmental planning responsibilities, including their application to the Council’s own projects.
    5. The appropriateness and efficacy of the relationship between elected representatives and Council staff, and between council, the community and other Commonwealth and State Government agencies providing funding or services in the council area.
    6. Whether there has been adequate annual or longer term planning for the provision of services by Council within its local government area.
    7. Whether the elected representatives are in a position to adequately direct and control the affairs of council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, so that council may fulfil the Charter, provisions and intent of the Local Government Act and otherwise fulfil its statutory functions.
    8. Whether the Council has exercised prudent financial management and control; and
    9. Any other matter that warrants mention, particularly where it may impact on the effective administration of the area and/or the working relationships between the council, councillors and its administration.

    The Commissioner may make other recommendations as he sees fit, including whether all civic offices in relation to the Council should be declared vacant”.

    Appointed Commissioner: Mr Ross Woodward.

  • Walgett Shire Council Public Inquiry (2004)

    On 25th February 2004 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Tony Kelly MLC, announced a formal public inquiry into Walgett Shire Council.

    The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and make appropriate recommendations to the Minister for Local Government on the efficiency and effectiveness of the governance of Walgett Shire Council.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    Whether the elected representatives have been and will continue to be in a position to direct and control the affairs of Council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, so that Council may fulfil the Charter, provisions and intent of the Local Government Act 1993 and otherwise fulfil its statutory functions;
    The conduct of elected representatives of Council (whether individually or collectively as the governing body);
    Any other matter that warrants mention, particularly where it may impact on the effective administration of the area and/or the management of and working relationships within the Council.

    The Commissioner may make other recommendations as he sees fit, including whether all civic offices in relation to the Council should be declared vacant so as to ensure that an appropriate structure can be put in place to provide optimum community leadership.”

    Appointed Commissioner: Mr Robert Bulford.

  • Tweed Shire Council Public Inquiry (2004)

    On 10th November 2004 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Tony Kelly MLC, announced a formal public inquiry into Tweed Shire Council.

    The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government on the efficiency and effectiveness of the governance of Tweed Shire Council.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. Whether the elected representatives have adequately, appropriately and reasonably carried out their responsibilities in the best interests of all ratepayers and residents, in an environment free from conflicts of interest.
    2. The appropriateness of the procedures and processes adopted by Council in relation to its environmental planning responsibilities, including the processing of applications for development, particularly those of a significant nature.
    3. The appropriateness of the relationship between elected representatives and proponents of development in the council area.
    4. Whether the elected representatives are in a position to adequately direct and control the affairs of council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, so that council may fulfil the Charter, provisions and intent of the Local Government Act 1993 and otherwise fulfil its statutory functions.
    5. Any other matter that warrants mention, particularly where it may impact on the effective administration of the area and/or the working relationships between the council, councillors and its administration.

    The Commissioner may make other recommendations as he sees fit, including whether all civic offices in relation to the Council should be declared vacant.” 

    Appointed Commissioner: Professor Maurice Daly BA PhD MIMC.

  • Rylstone Shire Council Public Inquiry (2004)

    On 16th January 2004 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Tony Kelly MLC, announced a formal public inquiry into Rylstone Shire Council.

    The terms of reference of the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government on the efficiency and effectiveness of the governance of Rylstone Shire Council.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. Whether the elected representatives command the community’s confidence and support as to their capability, and whether the elected representatives have been and will continue to be in a position to direct and control the affairs of council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, so that council may fulfil the Charter, provisions and intent of the Local Government Act 1993 and otherwise fulfil its statutory functions.
    2. Whether the council has exercised prudent financial management.
    3. Council’s process of appointment and management of staff and particularly during the 2003 organisational restructure.
    4. Any other matter that warrants mention, particularly where it may impact on the effective administration of the area and/or the working relationships between the Council, Councillors and its administration.

    The Commissioner may make other recommendations as they see fit, including whether all civic offices in relation to the Council should be declared vacant so as to ensure that an appropriate structure can be put in place to provide optimum community leadership.”

    Appointed Commissioner: Mrs Gabrielle Kibble AO.

  • Liverpool City Council Public Inquiry (2003)

    On 5th November 2003 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Tony Kelly MLC, announced a formal public inquiry into Liverpool City Council.

    The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and make any appropriate recommendations regarding Liverpool City Council.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard but is not limited to the following:

    1. whether the Council has exercised prudent financial management regarding the development and management of infrastructure projects such as those within the Woodward Park precinct (the “Oasis” project);
    2. whether the Council exercised appropriate openness and transparency in its decision making for approving and undertaking major infrastructure projects;
    3. whether the Council properly considered what impact major infrastructure projects would have on the ongoing ability of Council to provide services to the community;
    4. Council’s process of appointment and management of senior staff; and
    5. any other matter that warrants mention, particularly where it may impact upon the effective administration of the area and/or the working relationships between the council, councillors and its administration.

    The Commissioner may make such recommendations as the Commissioner sees fit including whether all civic offices in relation to the Council should be declared vacant so as to ensure that an appropriate structure can be put in place to provide optimum community leadership.” 

    Appointed Commisssioner: Emeritus Professor Maurice Daly BA PhD MIMC.

  • Warringah Council Public Inquiry (2003)

    On 15 January 2003 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Harry Woods MP, announced a formal public inquiry into Warringah Council.

    The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry were:

    “To inquire, report and provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government on the efficiency and effectiveness of the governance of Warringah Council.

    The Inquiry will have particular regard to:

    1. the conduct of elected representatives of Council (whether individually or collectively as the governing body of Council); and
    2. whether the elected representatives command the community’s confidence and support as to their capability, and whether the elected representatives have been and will continue to be in a position, to direct and control the affairs of Council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, so that Council may fulfil the charter, provisions and intent of the Local Government Act 1993 and otherwise fulfil its statutory functions.

    The Commissioner may make other recommendations as he sees fit, including whether all civic offices in relation to Council should be declared vacant so as to ensure that an appropriate structure can be put in place to provide optimum community leadership.”

    Appointed Commissioner: Emeritus Professor Maurice Daly BA PhD MIMC.