Council judicial inquiry petition reaches its target

Susan Greene (left) and Marianne Hamilton, who started the petition

UPDATE: The petition has reached 21,000 signatures, as of 12pm Wednesday February 23.

Original Article

An E-petition calling for a judicial inquiry into the Central Coast Council is expected to reach its target of 20,000 signatures before Friday, February 26.

By 9am Tuesday, February 23, the petition had attracted 18,064 signatures.

By signing, people are asking for an inquiry into the financial crisis facing Council that has seen it argue it needs a rate rise of 15 percent.

If the petition reaches the 20,000 target, it will be debated in State Parliament.

The petition numbers the Council’s issues and asks the State Government to hold a Judicial Inquiry to investigate how the financial crisis happened and who is responsible and what reforms are needed to the Local Government Act to protect the community in the future.

It asks what impact the amalgamation had on the problems and asks if councillors and senior staff were negligent in their duty to properly manage the council and whether they have been dealt with appropriately.

The petition also requests that the Minister for Local Government delays any application by the Council to IPART for a Special Rate Variation and any decision on the sale of Council assets until residents can consider the findings of the Judicial Inquiry and its recommendations.

The two women who organised the petition, Susan Greene and Marianne Hamilton, are thrilled with the community’s response.

“I think we are on track to achieve our goal and we are still trying to get people to sign up,” Hamilton said.

“My family and friends have been overwhelmingly supportive and tried to help with encouragement and my daughter with practical IT skills, she helped me with the flyers we’re distributing around the place.

“Some of the feedback on Facebook is that amalgamation was the problem and the community was never consulted.

“Despite the recent bans, we probably wouldn’t have got as far as we have without the groups on Facebook,’’ she said.

Merilyn Vale