Wynne appoints former detective to investigate Brimbank

By Rob O’Brien

The Victorian State Government has appointed a former detective to take charge of the investigation into Brimbank City Council.

David Walker has been appointed by the Brumby Government as an Inspector of Municipal Administration to investigate potential breaches of the Local Government Act at Brimbank City Council.
The appointment follows a report by the Ombudsman, which found the Labor-run council to be “dysfunctional and marked by in-fighting and interpersonal conflicts”.

The report took aim at councillors’ conflict of interest, which “included placing their private interests first and using their positions to obtain confidential information”.

It also found the council was influenced by individuals who held no elected local government office, including individuals prevented from holding public office because of criminal convictions.

Local Government Minister Richard Wynne said the appointment was based on advice received from Victoria Police and a recommendation from the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Simon Overland.

“Mr Walker is a highly experienced investigator and is well placed to lead these investigations, given his experience with Victoria Police as well as the private sector,” Wynne said.

“It was essential to find someone of Mr Walker’s calibre to undertake the important task of investigating possible breaches of the Local Government Act that have been identified in the Ombudsman’s report.

“All of the councillors and former councillors named in the report will be interviewed, along with relevant council officers and any other individuals.”

Walker will have all the statutory powers of an Inspector of Municipal Administration under section 223A of the Local Government Act 1989 and will report directly to the Minister for Local Government.

“If individuals at Brimbank Council have failed in their obligations to govern effectively, my Department will take action,” Mr Wynne said.

The scope of the investigation will include:

  • decision making contrary to community interests;
  • inappropriate release of information;
  • inappropriate conduct by individual councillors; and
  • campaign donations and gifts.

Related Story: Wynne announces spot audits, investigations for Brimbank

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