Independent Commissioner has vast Council related experience

Commissioner Roslyn McCulloch

Roslyn McCulloch will head up the public inquiry into Central Coast Council as the independent Commissioner, but just who is she?

She may be known best for her public inquiry into Balranald Shire Council in 2019, but since her admission as a solicitor in 1985, the majority of McCulloch ‘s legal life has been centered around the Land and Environment Court, practising primarily in its Class 1 jurisdiction, planning appeals.

She has also had experience in areas of planning, environmental and local government law, which was recognised with her appointment as an Accredited Specialist in this area in 2013.

During her tenure as Lawyer, Partner, and now Special Counsel at Sydney-based law firm, Pikes & Verekers, McCulloch has regularly advised on local government related matters for Councils and private clients and has had experience particularly with various environmental planning instruments and the Local Government Act.

According to the Pikes & Verekers website, McCulloch’s “continuing involvement in [council and developer] areas has gained her a balance of experience rare to many practitioners”.

She is listed as having decades of experience through the High Court and Land and Environment Court on matters involving Council issues, such as the successful application for special leave to appeal to the High Court in Sydney City Council v Claude Neon Ltd (1989) 15 NSWLR 724.

This case discussed the necessity for owner’s consent to a development application for development within the airspace of a council road.

She assisted, and then later assumed the carriage of successful proceedings in the Court of Appeal and High Court of Australia for South Sydney Council against the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

This case concerned a dispute relating to the interpretation of the lease for the Domain Car Parking Station (1999-2002).

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said McCulloch’s experience made her a perfect fit for the job of Commissioner.

The public inquiry into Council is expected to take approximately a year and at its conclusion, McCulloch will present a report for the Minister and potentially make recommendations regarding her findings.

Those recommendations may include issuing a Performance Improvement Order or dismissing Council altogether.

Maisy Rae