- Ongoing and serious governance issues prompts Minister to suspend Perth council
- A panel with powers of a Royal Commission will conduct inquiry
- Inquiry panel can recommend dismissal or reinstating the council
- Three commissioners will oversee the City of Perth while inquiry is held
Local Government Minister David Templeman has today announced the suspension of the City of Perth council and his intention to establish an inquiry panel to investigate the City's governance issues.
The Minister's action comes into effect today following the gazettal of a Governor's Order, and as a result of ongoing and serious concerns of failure by the elected council to ensure that the local government performs its functions properly.
The suspension order, outlined under section 8.19 of the Local Government Act 1995, will see three commissioners fulfil the role of the suspended council and ensure continuity of service to ratepayers while the inquiry is underway.
Eric Lumsden, retiring chairperson of the Western Australian Planning Commission; Gaye McMath, former executive director of Perth Education City; and Andrew Hammond, retiring chief executive officer of the City of Rockingham, have been appointed to the positions.
The inquiry panel will have the powers of a Royal Commission and the authority to make recommendations as to whether the council should be dismissed or reinstated.
Following the inquiry, which could take a number of months, a report will be prepared for the Minister to decide what action the State Government will take.
Comments attributed to Local Government Minister David Templeman:
"The situation at the City of Perth has become untenable and I have formed a view that if I do not intervene, I am failing in my responsibilities as Minister and not fulfilling my obligations under the Local Government Act.
"As Minister for Local Government, it is my aim to support and champion the sector, however, I am also responsible for ensuring that it operates efficiently and effectively.
"The community has an expectation that the City of Perth, as our premier local government in the State, is leading by example and putting their ratepayers first.
"The ongoing and serious governance issues at the City have ultimately led to the recent events and are tarnishing the sector's reputation.
"I am seeking to restore confidence in the people of Perth of the City's ability to provide good governance for its community, and this move is a further step towards achieving this."
Minister's office - 6552 5400
Frequently asked questions
How long will the inquiry take?
The inquiry will conclude once necessary processes, including affording natural justice to parties involved, have been met. Previous inquiries have taken up to 18 months.
Who pays for the inquiry? How much will it cost?
Under section 8.27 of the Local Government Act 1995, if a panel makes adverse findings to a local government or council member, the local government may be ordered to repay some or all of the costs. The City of Canning inquiry in 2012 cost more than $1.6 million.
What happens at the completion of the inquiry?
At the completion of the inquiry, the panel will provide a report with recommendation to the Minister for Local Government. The panel has authority to recommend dismissal or reinstating of the council. The Minister will then determine what action, if any, will be taken.
Will the result of the panel's inquiry be made public?
The inquiry panel's report will be made available to the public unless the panel determines that making it available might prejudice a matter that may come before the court.
Will the suspended members be eligible for remuneration?
That is a matter for the commissioners.
What is the remuneration for commissioners and who pays?
Clause 5(1) of Schedule 2.4 provides that commissioner/s are paid remuneration and allowances and reimbursed for expenses as the Minster determines. Clause 5 of Schedule 2.4 provides that commissioners are paid by the City.