Courts nail clumsy and secretive handling of Council mergers

First it was the Court of Appeal finding for Ku-ring-gai in their challenge to the Government’s attempt to merge that Council with most of Hornsby. When we say “most of Hornsby”, that was something the smart people in government missed because the fundamental reason why the Court of Appeal found for Ku-ring-gai was the section of the Local Government Act under which they had acted to merge all of Ku-ring-gai and most of Hornsby, relied upon merging “two local government areas”. And the Court found they didn’t have two local government areas, they had one local government area and another local government area with part of it “excised”. Do’h! A dumb mistake.

And persuasive as well was the Government’s insistence that the KPMG report, containing what the Government and their delegates claimed was compelling financial evidence of efficiencies and cost savings, be a confidential document. What is this Government and its obsession with confidentiality? If you’ve got nothing to hide, you don’t need confidentiality.

And then the High Court has decided to provide leave to appeal to Woollahra to contest the Government’s proposal to force the amalgamation of Woollahra with Randwick and Waverley. Again, based significantly on the government’s obsession to keep the KPMG report confidential. And Randwick now looks like joining in - despite Randwick and Waverley for years having happily embraced each other with a view to voluntary merger if they needed to.

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