Local Government Boundaries Commission must prove its independence in forced amalgamation farce

The Greens are calling on the four members of the recently appointed Boundaries Commission to reject the secrecy and deceit that has been central to the Baird Government’s forced amalgamation agenda and prove that they are a genuinely independent body.

The Boundaries Commission is currently reviewing up to 35 reports sent to them by the delegates who have been assessing the Baird government’s forced amalgamation proposals.

Fair process must start with:

1. The public release of each delegates’ report on forced amalgamations received by the Commission; and

2. The right for each affected council to provide submissions on the forced amalgamation reports received by the Boundaries Commission
To date neither the Local Government Minister Paul Toole or any member of the Boundaries Commission have identified the process they will follow in reviewing the delegates reports.

Greens MP and local Government Spokesperson, David Shoebridge said:

“The very recently appointed Boundaries Commission is currently operating like a black box.

“There has been no advice given about what process the Commission will follow when it reviews the forced merger reports or when these reports will be made public.

“These reports have been with the Minister and the Boundaries Commission for a week now and councils across the state are quite rightly demanding that they are made public.

“At a minimum, natural justice surely requires that the Boundaries Commission needs to give each a copy of each report to the affected councils and then allow them an opportunity to make a submission.

“The first thing the Commission needs to do when it gets a report about a merger is provide a copy to the relevant councils to allow them to make an informed submission.

“The Commission is meant to be a genuinely independent statutory body with an important role to do in assessing forced merger proposals. It’s well and truly time they stood up and showed that independence.

“Secrecy and deceit has been central to the Baird Government’s forced amalgamation agenda, and it is time that this is put to an end.” Mr Shoebridge said.

Appointees to the Boundaries Commission are: Robert Sendt, Rick Firman, Lesley Furneaux-Cook and Nataša Mitic