Council welcomes Interim Report for Public Inquiry TOR 4

13 May 2019

Blue Mountains City Council has welcomed the Interim Report released today by Commissioner Richard Beasley SC, relating to Term of Reference 4 of the Public Inquiry into the Council.

Term of Reference 4 relates (in summary) to Council's process of engaging Clyde & Co and McCullough Robertson lawyers to conduct independent investigations into asbestos related incidents and employment issues.
In concluding paragraph [122] of the Interim Report, Commissioner Beasley states:

"In light of the above, the Council's process of engaging Clyde & Co and McCullough Robertson was, in all the circumstances, prudent and appropriate. Mr Tooma never had a conflict of interest, hence there was no real conflict for the Council to manage. As to the alleged conflict, the Council's response to those allegations, and the response of the governing body, was reasonable and appropriate. No aspect of the matters raised in Term of Reference 4 involved conduct or action that was not in accordance with the obligations and duties imposed on the Council and the governing body under the relevant provisions of the Local Government Act."
In response to the release of the Interim Report, the Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: "We thank the Commissioner for the Interim Report. We will continue to fully support the Inquiry.
"We note this Interim Report confirms that the Council's decisions and actions in relation to the process of engaging independent investigators were reasonable and appropriate.

“The Council will continue to work hard to ensure that its operations are safe and that our practices and processes support our workers and the community.”

Cr Mark Greenhill also said: “I have deliberately refrained from deeper comment until this point. Issues as important as these deserve calm analysis from this point on.

“The inquiry is based on evidence. The consideration of facts will lead us to the best and safest outcomes.

“I would also like to thank Michael Tooma for his work and reflect that he is an eminent lawyer whose recommendations have greatly assisted the Council in the development of its Improvement Plan.”

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