The Cockburn City Council has been dismissed.
Local Government Minister Paul Omodei told the Legislative Assembly today that he had accepted the recommendation for dismissal made by the inquiry into the city.
Mr Omodei had determined that an election for a new council would be held on Wednesday, December 6, and he expected it to be a postal ballot.
Councillors would be elected for terms expiring in May 2003 and May 2005.
The three commissioners currently running the city - Mr Julian Donaldson, Ms Jenny Smithson and Mr Murray Jorgensen - would be reappointed until a new council was elected.
Mr Omodei reminded the Assembly that in April last year he had suspended the council, cancelled the elections due in May last year, and appointed commissioners to run the city.
He had subsequently appointed Mr Neil Douglas to inquire into the affairs of the city with power to recommend whether the council be dismissed or reinstated.
Mr Douglas’s report and recommendation for dismissal had been tabled in Parliament on May 4 this year.
In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act and in fairness to those immediately affected by the report, he had then invited the suspended councillors, the commissioners and others concerned to comment on Mr Douglas’s recommendations.
Having considered comments subsequently received as to dismissal and all relevant matters, he decided to act in accordance with Mr Douglas’s recommendation for dismissal.
The Minister said that the elections to be held on December 6 could be held for fewer councillors and with a different ward structure than existed at present.
The Local Government Advisory Board was currently assessing a proposal to redistribute ward boundaries, reduce the number of councillors to nine, and elect the Mayor at large instead of internally.
At the time the council was suspended, it had 14 councillors, with the Mayor elected by the councillors from among them.
The possible redistribution was the main reason the election would not be held before December 6.
Under the Local Government Act, councillors’ terms of office across the State expired in May 2001 and May 2003, but to ensure that half the councillors elected in Cockburn in December did not have to face re-election in May, Governor’s Orders had been written to ensure that their terms expired in 2003 and 2005, depending on their positions in the voting.
If it was decided that the Mayor would be elected at large, the term would be until May 2005.
Mr Omodei added that the determination would be made later in relation to what part of the $1.8 million cost of the inquiry would be paid by the city.
The Act provided that all of the costs could be charged to the city if there were adverse findings against the council, councillors or staff.
There were numerous adverse findings against councillors and staff.
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700