Shoalhaven most complained about council

By Angela Dorizas

Shoalhaven City Council has maintained its title of the most complained about local government in New South Wales.

In a report released by Local Government Minister Barbara Perry, the south coast council topped the list of the 27 most complained about councils in the state.

The State Government received 75 complaints about Shoalhaven Council in 2008-09. It represented a 52 per cent decrease in the number of complaints received in 2007-08, but that was not enough to shift the Council from the top spot on the gripe list.

Shoalhaven Mayor Paul Green was unimpressed with the result.

“We’re not proud of it,” Cr Green told Government News.  

“It’s quite disappointing.”

Cr Green said Shoalhaven was the ninth largest council in the state and faced a number of challenges due to growth in the region.

He attributed the decrease in complaints to a change in leadership following the September 2008 local government election.

“The local government election took place and the new guard came in,” Cr Green said.

“Since I’ve been Mayor of this city those complaints have reduced.”

Cr Green said the council had put in place a number of State Government recommendations and amended the code of conduct.

He added that Shoalhaven Council was the first in the state to publish pecuniary interests online.

Ms Perry said the Division of Local Government received more than 1200 complaints about a small number of councils in the 12-month period.

“It’s very concerning that such a relatively small number of councils account for more than half of the 1200 complaints received,” she said.

“It’s also important to recognise that while there are a minority of councils that continue to receive large amounts of criticism, the number of complaints against councils overall is down on last year.”

Planning and development issues represented 25 per cent of all complaints about local government.

Governance and misconduct each accounted for 15 per cent of complaints, followed by enforcement (11 per cent), pecuniary or conflict of interest (6 per cent), customer service (5 per cent) and mismanagement or maladministration (4 per cent).

Gosford City Council was third on the Government’s list with 48 complaints, followed closely by Tweed Shire Council with 40 complaints.

The most complained about council in Sydney was Ku-ring-gai with 34 complaints, followed by the City of Sydney with 28 complaints.


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