The public inquiry into Central Coast Council’s financial fiasco is under way (Public submissions to inquiry to close June 21, CCN 295).
Nevertheless, as I pointed out when the inquiry’s terms of reference were promulgated, this is a totally inadequate exercise, with the Commissioner’s scope of work tied, by the limitations of her brief, to an investigation of “Council’s financial management and its ability to serve the local community”, which is about half of the picture that needs to be exposed.
In fact, we have already had numerous explanations of these points from different interested parties, and it is unlikely that, given her powers, the Commissioner will throw any more light on the matter, and, even for this, we shall have to wait a year for the completion of her report.
Adam Crouch’s contention that the inquiry has many of the powers and authorities of a Royal Commission is laughable: it is obvious that the setting up of the inquiry, in its present form, was intended to limit any investigation in depth, presumably to protect the many agencies who had a hand in the debacle but are now being shielded from scrutiny.
Interested parties are being invited to make submissions but, since we (the ratepayers) know nothing (if we knew anything we shouldn’t need an inquiry), what can be said by anybody who was not involved in the obscure manoeuvrings that led us into the fiscal pitfall?
We are told that the Commissioner “will gather documents and information”, but there is no mention of the Commissioner’s having the authority to require documents to be provided or to demand that witnesses provide information.
This is a one-hand-tied-behind-the-back effort and not what was asked for in the e-petition so summarily dismissed by the Government.
Let us bear in mind this arrogant treatment of the community, when the next state election comes up.
Email, Jun 5
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy