Local Government Minister John Castrilli today announced the suspension of the Shire of Ashburton in the State’s Pilbara region for a period of six months.
Mr Castrilli also appointed a commissioner and ordered the councillors to undertake governance training on the responsibilities and functions of a council.
The Minister said the decision followed consideration of the shire’s response to a ‘show cause’ notice which highlighted a range of concerns, including issues identified in a probity audit undertaken at the shire by the Department of Local Government.
The Probity and Compliance Audit Report identified sufficient evidence of a failure by the shire to properly perform some of its functions. It called into question the council’s ability to govern effectively without first training in the necessary governance requirements.
Mr Castrilli said the suspension was effective immediately and Ron Yuryevich had been appointed as commissioner to manage the operations and affairs of the local government while the council remained suspended.
“The Ashburton council was invited to respond to concerns outlined in a notice sent to them that included issues identified in the Probity and Compliance Audit Report,” he said.
“Having carefully considered the council’s comprehensive response, I have decided that it would be inappropriate for the council to act as the shire’s governing body at this time.
“I have taken this action because I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of failures by the council to discharge its duty to ensure that the shire performs its functions properly. These failures were of a level of seriousness and duration, as to warrant taking that step in the interests of the good governance of the shire.”
The Minister said the council had fully co-operated with the audit process and expressed its willingness to undertake the necessary training.
“I am confident Mr Yurveyich’s extensive background of local government and previous experience as a commissioner will ensure a high level of service is maintained for the Ashburton community,” he said.
Mr Yuryevich has been mayor of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder for 20 years, is a member of the Local Government Advisory Board and a member of the Western Australian Local Government State Council.
Minister’s office - 6552 6600