- Report paints a picture of poor leadership with rampant factionalism, dysfunction, poor governance and interference in administration
- Culture of self-interest, lack of accountability and transparency
- Decision to suspend council "undoubtedly justified"
- Important learnings for entire local government sector
The final report of the Inquiry into the City of Perth was today tabled in State Parliament, outlining a litany of dysfunction, poor governance, factionalism, and fertile ground for greed, incompetence and mismanagement.
The 2,000-page document contains over 250 findings and 350 recommendations, which have implications for the City and the broader local government sector.
During its examination the Inquiry identified 135 matters that required referral to other organisations including WA Police, Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Taxation Office.
Case studies and findings highlight:
- councillors and candidates using sham leases to become eligible to stand for election;
- decisions on planning matters not based on planning considerations;
- lack of disclosure of financial interests by most councillors;
- excessive use of dining room by councillors for family and friends;
- councillors using their position to advance personal business interests;
- focus on specific events for the allocation of grants, sponsorships and tickets; and
- a range of issues with the City's administration - poor management, lack of financial management and planning, and procurement and contracting issues.
The report has been referred to the City, which has 35 days to advise what it has done or proposes to do to give effect to the recommendations that apply to the City of Perth.
The recommendations by the Inquirer Mr Tony Power that apply to the local government sector are broadly supported by the Government.
These, together with the recommendations of the Local Government Act Review Panel released last week, will feed into the Local Government Act Review process.
This process has been a key focus of reform by the Local Government Minister David Templeman over the past three and a half years.
This reform process has already addressed a number of the issues that have been raised by the report, including mandatory training for elected members, a mandatory code of conduct for members and candidates, and the provision of clarity for elected members to manage real and perceived conflicts of interest related to gifts.
Comments attributed to Local Government Minister David Templeman:
"This is an important document that has learnings for the whole sector.
"It reveals the implications of what can happen when governance breaks down and members overreach their responsibilities and interfere in the administration.
"Part of the response to this report will include amending legislation to put the relationship between elected members and the administration beyond doubt.
"I urge everyone in local government to read this report and understand the implications for the sector.
"It should be noted that the Inquirer stated that the decision to suspend the council was 'inevitably and undoubtedly justified', and that had it been an option available to him, he would have recommended that the Council be dismissed.
"I would like to thank the Inquirer Mr Tony Power and his team for such a thorough, detailed and comprehensive examination of what occurred at the City of Perth during this period.
"I look forward to a fresh start for the City with elections scheduled for October 17 and feel confident that the Commissioners have laid the foundations for good governance into the future."
Minister's office - 6552 5400