Councils could be suspended, but wouldn’t be sacked – Page
COUNCILS would not be sacked without notice under proposed new legislation, says Local Government Minister Don Page.
He was responding to Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, who called on him to delay debate on the Early Intervention Bill.
She said Local Government NSW, the Country Mayors Association and the Australian Local Government Women's Association called for it to be deferred.
"I must say, we have a wonderful relationship between local government and the current minister," she said.
But Mr Page denied that councils could be sacked without warning.
"That is absolutely incorrect," he said.
"What we are trying to do is create a mechanism - which we don't have at the moment - for early intervention for councils which are dysfunctional.
"For instance, there was a council which, for nine months, would not meet and would not get a quorum together.
"Suspension of a council would be the final step of a long process to try and solve the problems."
Mr Page said troublesome councils would first be issued with a notice to improve.
If that failed, they would then receive an order to improve.
"The council would have three weeks to respond with their planned course of action and the timeframes they would need to complete that action," he said.
"If they continue to be dysfunctional, then it would be available to the minister to suspend the council for three months.
"After that time the council would come back."
A council would be able to be suspended for a maximum of six months.
The Early Intervention Bill could be debated in Parliament as early as next week.