The Coalition has given up fighting its embarrassing legal loss to Ku-ring-gai Council with its 28 day timeframe to appeal to the High Court having now expired.
On 27 March 2017 the NSW Court of Appeal found that the government’s decision to hide the KPMG report denied Ku-ring-gai Council procedural fairness and ordered that the delegates report, and Boundaries Commission report, be thrown out. The Coalition must now either walk away from its unpopular, undemocratic forced amalgamation proposal or refer it to the Boundaries Commission for yet another report.
The embattled Berejiklian government is still facing High Court proceedings with Woollahra Council’s appeal due to be heard in Canberra on 12 May 2017.
Greens MP and Local Government David Shoebridge said:
“In yet another blow to the Coalition’s forced amalgamations, the government now appears to have given up on fighting its embarrassing legal loss to Ku-ring-gai Council.
“It’s not just Ku-ring-gai Council that this effects, the Court of Appeal decision challenges pretty much every forced amalgamation that has either happened or been threatened to date.
“The Court of Appeal said the obvious, that it is blatantly unfair to forcibly amalgamate a local council on the basis of a secret report.
“Premier Berejiklian made an unprincipled compromise earlier this year when she gave into the hard right of her party and the property development industry to ram through forced mergers in the city. This decision continues to haunt her administration.
“This continues to be a David and Goliath battle with brave local councils standing up to an arrogant State government. After years of struggle they are finally winning.
“The only rational option for the Berejiklian government is to step back, accept that forced amalgamations are undemocratic and have no political legitimacy and begin working productively with local councils and communities.
“It is well and truly time that the Coalition ended their undemocratic attacks on local councils and instead looked to delivering much needed local government reform that delivered financial independence and greater local autonomy,” Mr Shoebridge said.