On Monday 9 May 2022 Counsel Assisting Closing Submissions from the Public Inquiry were released. The document provides several findings and recommendations.
Recommendations sought and provided to the Commissioner for consideration include:
- The Minister should recommend to the Governor that all civic offices in the Wingecarribee Shire Council be declared vacant pursuant to section 255 of the Act.
- The period of interim administration should remain until the next State local council elections in September 2024.
- The induction and training of councillors should be standardised and include:
- Proper training in respect of what powers are available to councillors when there is disruption by a minority of councillors;
- More fulsome training in respect of councillors obligations under Work Health and Safety legislation;
iii. Proper records of who attends training;
- Extra training in the chairing of meetings given to the mayor and deputy mayor.
- There should be more clarity in the Act around the reporting and publication of code of conduct complaints. In particular, the complaint, the investigation, the name of the subject councillor, and the outcome should be readily available for the community to access.
- Some consideration should be given as to whether the training received by councillors around the distinction between operational and strategic is appropriate given the dichotomy is not clearly found in the Act and it does not use that nomenclature. Alternatively, the Act could strengthen and clarify the distinction between the councillors’ roles and the role of staff.
Any suspended councillor, including former councillors of the 2016 term, Wingecarribee Shire Council, the Interim Administrator or any other person directly affected by the Terms of Reference or evidence given during the Public Inquiry can respond to the recommendations submitted by the Counsel Assisting the Public Inquiry.
Wingecarribee Council will be providing a response to the submission.
Final submissions must be provided by email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5.00pm on Monday 23 May 2022.
Final Recommendations will be handed down by Commissioner Ross Glover and provided to the Minister for Local Government.
For the full list of Recommendations listed by the Counsel Assisting the Public Inquiry, visit www.olg.nsw.gov.au/public-inquiries/wingecarribee-shire-council-public-inquiry.