Authorised Inquiry findings rejected by Supreme Court

Published on 18 November 2020

- As Issued by GT Media

Authorised Inquiry findings based on evidence rejected by Supreme Court

We are incredibly disappointed by both the Minister and the Department’s failure to consider the evidence in this matter, their apparent failure to follow due process outlined in the Act and their failure to duly consider the response provided by the Town to the draft report.

We are shocked that the Minister and the Department have based their findings in the Authorised Inquiry report on the very same outdated information and unsubstantiated allegations that was the subject of the recent show cause notice and absolutely discredited by Justice Tottle in the Supreme Court. Justice Tottle’s decision last month found in favour of the Town.

Justice Tottle also awarded costs to the Town of Cambridge, with taxpayers having already paid more than $180,000 in legal costs to the Town.

The court found that the action proposed by the Minister was without foundation and that his proposed suspension of Council had no basis in jurisdictional fact.  A fact which seems to have been totally disregarded in this process.

We are extremely surprised to find that the Minister is now using the same unsubstantiated information that was rejected by Justice Tottle last month as the basis for his findings in the Authorised Inquiry.

The findings identified in the report tabled today contain mistruths, are misleading and are based on the subjective opinions of just three employees and as such are not based on factual evidence. The Mayor and CEO enjoy the full support of the council and remain committed to working in the best interests of the Town and its ratepayers and business owners.

The Town therefore rejects the findings as completely unfounded. This is demonstrated in the Town’s response which is available on the Town of Cambridge website and which was completely disregarded by the Department and Minister in this instance.

We also have strong concerns that the provisions of cl 8.14 (1) of the Local Government Act have not been followed and we are currently seeking legal advice in regard to this matter.

What this does is highlight the Department and the Minister’s apparent vindictiveness against our council that is breathtaking in a member of parliament.

His pursuit of a council that was elected unopposed at the most recent elections and that enjoys the strong support of the local community is evidence of a single minded agenda that appears to override processes set up to ensure that an objective and unbiased approach to such proceedings is able to occur.

Minister Templeman appears to be taking little responsibility for his mismanagement of a sector which raises $2.4billion of public funds every year and manages $45 billion in assets and which should be of concern to this government.

During the entire course of this process, he has shown himself to be unable to grasp proper governance and what constitutes the legitimate exercise of statutory power by a freely elected council acting in the best interests of its ratepayers.

We believe that the Minister’s statement represents an inappropriate use of parliamentary privilege and damages the Town’s reputation, which we categorically refute. 

 

 

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