The Greens will continue to push for reform, good governance and transparency following the news that Blue Mountains Council has received its second suspension notice.
Blue Mountains Greens Councillor Kerry Brown said:
“From day one the Greens’ concern has been to ensure council becomes a safe place to work and our community facilities are safe for everyone to use.
“Staff and local residents have repeatedly raised concerns about asbestos contamination and what have been some very poor council processes.
“I have always treated these concerns as worthy of support and investigation.
“The ‘we have done nothing wrong’ attitude of a number of councillors has meant that Blue Mountains Council has been caught in a reactive rather than proactive role.
“It not acceptable to have our waste facilities closed because they’re dangerous, staff put at risk when working and now to find out that the Katoomba Grandstand is structurally unsound.
“When you add in the latest debacle with the “independent” asbestos inquiry organised through Council’s lawyers it really has been a sorry twelve months on the part of Council.
“Blue Mountains Greens councillors are committed to keeping Council in local hands and, if the Council is suspended, we will be working with our colleagues in state Parliament to get us back up and running as soon as possible,” Clr Brown said.
Greens MP and Spokesperson for Local Government David Shoebridge said:
“It’s always a blow to lose a democratically elected Council but the threat of suspension can’t be used to prevent transparency or to silence informed criticism of the Council.
“I have to declare how proud I am of the Blue Mountains Greens Councillors who 9 months ago made the first clear demand for fundamental changes in the culture and accountability of the Council.
‘It was Greens Councillor Kerry Brown who first moved to adopt the highest standards of work health and safety as a policy of council. Unfortunately that was voted down by the majority Labor Councillors.
“Kerry called for the asbestos investigations to be driven by a tri-partite group of councillors representing all political parties to ensure it wasn’t done behind closed doors. That too was voted down by the majority Labor Councillors.
“She repeatedly moved for terms of reference and mayoral minutes related to the asbestos management to be in debated in open rather than closed session and was voted down.
“There’s a pretty clear lesson here for Labor’s Blue Mountains Councillors, when an informed and passionate Greens councillor is raising real concerns about transparency and poor process, you should listen and act.
“If council is suspended then I will be urging the Minister for Local Government to keep the period of suspension as brief as possible to enable the elected representatives to resume control of a reformed council,” Mr Shoebridge said.