|David Shoebridge - Greens|
The Greens got some Legal advice and it makes it clear that neither the Premier or the Minister for Local Government have any type of power to sack or suspend councils or to force council amalgamations.
Below is the independent barrister’s advice.
This serves to confirm that the "Local Government Act" disables the government undertaking to do a political sacking or suspend a council and prevents anything being put in place whereby administrators say yes to amalgamations.
The advice draws a number of important conclusions:
- If a council stands firmly with its residents to opposed to council amalgamation this forces the government to send proposals for amalgamations through a rigorous process that must involve the independent Boundaries Commission. Unlike IPART’s Fit For the Future assessment, this process is governed by an established set of statutory criteria that are not rigged in favour of amalgamations
- There are clear remedies available to councils and councillors, such as injunctions and orders, if the government attempts to misuse the Local Government Act
- The IPART findings and report cannot be used as a substitute for the legislative process and inquiries required under the Local Government Act
- There is real legal doubt as to whether or not IPART had the legislative authority to conduct the investigation it did into local government
- If a council gives in to the Premier’s bullying and resolves to ‘voluntarily’ amalgamate, the only legal effect of this is to prevent the amalgamation proposal being reviewed and commented on by the Boundaries Commission.
Images @ Eminpee Fotography