The Baird Government’s forced amalgamation agenda has fallen into legal disarray, with consent orders read aloud in open court to halt the merger of Strathfield, Burwood and Canada Bay councils and throw the Delegate’s report out.
The terms of the proposed order, read by the Government in court today, is as follows:
- Order restraining the first respondent Minister from recommending implementation of the proposal to amalgamate the local government areas of Strathfield, Burwood and Canada Bay dated January 2016 in reliance on the purported report titled “Examination of the Proposal to merge Burwood City Council, City of Canada Bay Council and Strathfield Municipal Council” dated March 2016.
- Minister to pay the applicant’s costs.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This is a disaster for Mike Baird and a win for the community as the report recommending the merger of these three councils has been literally thrown out.
“The amalgamation of Strathfield, Burwood and Canada Bay councils can no longer go ahead, and the government has to go back to square one.
“When a government tries to do a job on local communities and cut legal corners and rush through an undemocratic process it is no wonder they trip up.
“Effectively the government has given up on trying to defend the delegate’s report .
“What this means is that the Minister can’t use the report that the government’s hand-picked delegate has written on the merger proposal.
“This puts the merger plan for the Strathfield, Burwood and Canada Bay councils in legal limbo while the government struggles to work out its next step.
“This case comes on top of other damning revelations about the lack of independence in the government’s KPMG financial assessments, a lack of independence that is repeatedly being raised in court against the government.
“This will have the lawyers in every other council case against the government running a very close eye over each delegate’s report. However it is too early to say if it can be directly applied in all other cases.
“Chaos and disarray has dominated Mike Baird’s forced amalgamation process, and with their latest debacle it looks like it will only continue.” Mr Shoebridge said.