Local Government Minister Paul Omodei has described the Opposition Leader’s promise to pay the costs of the South Perth inquiry as election-driven political opportunism.
“The legislation providing for councils to meet the costs when they are at fault went through Parliament unopposed,” Mr
“Now, with an election beckoning, we find Dr Gallop scampering away from the responsibilities Parliament has legislated for.
“He has promised both Cockburn and South Perth that the taxpayers will pay for the misdemeanours of the local governments.
“This is a very bad case of taxpayers’ money being used to fund an election campaign instead of being used to provide services for the public.
“I appreciate that residents don’t like to see their money squandered by errant councils, but most people realise that ultimately they must accept the responsibility for their local government.
“In principle, there is no difference between paying for an inquiry and paying the consequences when a council spends money unlawfully, is sued, and is ordered to pay damages and costs.
“The State Government provides a great deal of advice, support and back-up to councils through the Local Government Department at no cost to them to ensure they can keep themselves out of trouble.
“It is only when councils refuse to seek advice or reject the advice given and wilfully proceed in unlawful or improper directions that the cost of the inquiry is imposed on the local government.
“This happens only in rare and serious cases, so it is difficult to find any justification for Dr Gallop’s opportunistic behaviour.”
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700