An investigation into the governance of the Ballarat City Council has revealed the failure of two councillors to declare business interests on 17 occasions.
Victorian Local Government Minister Richard Wynne said charges had been filed against councillor Gary Anderson, and councillor and former mayor David Vendy under the Local Government Act, who breached the regulation on 13 and four occasions respectively.
“Councillors have a clear duty to act in accordance with disclosure provisions, to give people faith in council governance and decision-making processes. Where councillors fail to act in the way that the law requires and the public expects, we will take action,” Mr Wynne said.
This May Mr Wynne appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to inspect the council’s administration following allegations raised by the city’s former councillor Wayne Rigg.
The report also uncovered transparency issues in areas including the council’s building permits, redevelopment planning, as well as recruitment processes.
Mr Wynne said the public would be able to view the full detail of the investigation ahead of the local government elections scheduled on November 29.
The council’s current CEO Anthony Schinck said a statement that the council accepted the findings of the report and was willing to gain maximum benefit from the review.
He said the council was set to meet with representatives of the Office of Local Government to revise its policies and decision-making processes based on the report.
“As an organisation we have already done a lot of work to ensure that processes, compliance and matters of probity are beyond reproach. My commitment to getting this right is absolute,” Mr Schinck said.
However, he stressed the report did not discredit the council’s entire services and staff.
“Given all of the services, projects and planning that council and staff provide, it is pleasing that the investigation has not found fault with the majority of practices, services, projects or that the organisation delivers.
“It is clear that most of what the council does, it does well, and that the staff are a group of dedicated professionals who have always worked in the best interests of the Ballarat community,” Mr Schinck said.
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