FOR many years, the spread of open-cut mining across the Upper Hunter triggeredgrowing concern about the broader region’sair quality.
More recently, the Newcastle Herald’s“Great Cover-up” series was generated in response tothe complaints of people living along the main rail line into Newcastle, who were worried about the impact of coal dust on their health, and their environment.
In response, the NSW government and the coal industry responded with a range of studies that havedone much to build a baseline picture of the atmospheric situation inthe Hunter.Given the concern in mining areas, the Environment Protection Authority began with dust and particle studies of the Upper Hunter, resulting in a 2013 declaration –one greeted with some scepticism at the time –that the biggest pollution problem in Singleton and Muswellbrook, at least in winter, was wood smoke.
In the intervening period, studiesalong the coal rail lines also challengedpreconceptionsby finding that particulate emissions from diesel locomotives, rather than dust from either full or laden wagons, was the main source of pollution from freight trains.
Now, the EPA has released another suite of results, in the form of dust deposition and particle characterisation studies for the Lower Hunter. Thesefindthe region’s overall air quality is good by global standards, althoughhigher levels of particulate matter –particularly ammonium nitrate –have been consistently detected in and around the Port of Newcastle. To its credit, Kooragang Island company Orica has acknowledged its role as the source of these emissions, and is pledging further changes to its manufacturing processes to minimise them.
Extraordinarily, the EPAappears to have all but exonerated the coal industry from any major culpability when it comes to air quality.
Some people will no doubt find this a difficult message to swallow, especially in the Upper Hunter, where the logic that mine blasts send dust into the air is difficult to deny.But unless contrary evidence emerges, the EPA’s studies should be accepted asscientifically rigorous, and their findings valid. For the Lower Hunter at least, they confirm what most people would think looking out the window: that the region’s air is pretty clean, and certainly far cleaner than it was in the years when the Newcastle steelworks and the Boolaroo smelter were operating.
Austrac has alleged Tabcorp contravened its reporting obligations on 236 occasions. Photo: Phil CarrickGaming giant Tabcorp has been accused of a further 61 reporting breaches as part of a landmark Federal Court action taken by anti-money laundering watchdog Austrac.
The ASX-listed company faces penalties of up to $18 million over allegations it routinely flouted anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing provisions by failing to report suspicious transactions.
Austrac chief executive Paul Jevtovic said the new breaches came to light after it launched legal proceedings in July 2015 against Tabcorp and its NSW and Victorian wagering businesses.
“This ongoing investigation into Tabcorp’s extensive, significant and systematic non-compliance with Australia’s money laundering and counter-terrorism financing legislation has resulted in these additional allegations,” Mr Jevtovic said.
Austrac has alleged Tabcorp contravened its reporting obligations on 236 occasions, which had the potential to facilitate large-scale money laundering by crime syndicates or compromise the integrity of the financial system.
A Tabcorp spokesman said the company would file a response in relation to the amended statement of claim lodged by Austrac.
The Melbourne-based company is also the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation into allegations it made a $200,000 payment to the family of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2009 as part of a lobbying campaign
Tabcorp’s boss at the time of the alleged payment, Elmer Funke Kupper, resigned last month from his role as ASX chief executive over the scandal.
Last year, Fairfax Media revealed underworld figures were exploiting Tabcorp betting accounts to launder cash, while violent inmates sometimes used the accounts to receive payments for extortion rackets run inside Victorian prisons.
Most of the work for the new submarines will go to South Australia. Photo: SuppliedFrance wins $50b submarine contractVotes for boats
The Victorian government has demanded that Malcolm Turnbull put a local content mandate on the $50 billion submarine deal with France as a first step to bringing work on the project to the state.
Victorian Industry Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said on Wednesday there was “no reason” the Williamstown shipyards couldn’t be revived to help in the construction of the fleet of 12 boats.
But this view that was met with scepticism from industry sources. Most of the work will go to South Australia, home of government-owned shipbuilder ASC at Osborne, where the submarines will be built.
Ms D’Ambrosio said Victoria was the nation’s leader in maritime engineering and design, and Williamstown – which had lost nearly 1000 jobs in recent years as work finishes on other major naval shipbuilding projects – should be considered.
“Those people haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth,” she said. “They are dispersed throughout the economy, and with some commitment and long-term certainty that only Malcolm Turnbull can provide, we could potentially be able to do some of these jobs and this work. Nothing should be excluded until it has been examined.”
Ms D’Ambrosio said she was “somewhat heartened” by Mr Turnbull’s description of the project as a “national endeavour”, but added he was “yet to utter the words ‘Victoria, Victorian jobs and Victorian businesses'”.
“He needs to ensure that before any contract is signed … the government provides a strong local content requirement and allows the [French company] DCNS to make the right decision on how the submarines are designed and supplied.
“We’ve had too many decisions made by Tony Abbott and now Malcolm Turnbull that have been simply a reaction to political pressure in South Australia, and now of course is the time to make good on their promise that there is plenty of work to go around.”
Williamstown will be all but mothballed this year after it was overlooked by the federal government for work on the future frigate program. The number of shipbuilders has dwindled to a few dozen, although there are still nearly 200 design and engineering staff working there.
Ms D’Ambrosio said Williamstown could produce hull sections, as it did with the Air Warfare Destroyer project, which could then be shifted to Osborne for assembly.
There were also opportunities for Victorian companies to supply parts for the project, she said. A modern submarine has about 1 million components.
A BAE Systems spokeswoman said: “BAE Systems will investigate opportunities to work with DCNS to determine where we can best assist in providing skills, technology and capability to ensure the program is delivered.”
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Building all 12 boats in Adelaide shores up the government’s political prospects in Christopher Pyne’s home state of South Australia. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The all-Australian build for the submarines goes against the preference of DCNS. Photo: Supplied
Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has wrongly claimed that the decision to build all 12 new submarines in Adelaide – which is expected to save Coalition seats in South Australia – was based on a recommendation from the Defence Department.
Fairfax Media understands that Defence recommended that either an all-Australian build or a so-called “hybrid build” in which the first boat or two is constructed in France, would be acceptable
The all-Australian build goes against the preference of the French company that has been selected as the partner on the $50 billion project. DCNS has said it would be quicker to construct the first boat or two in France before shifting operations to Australia.
It is understood this “hybrid” approach would also be cheaper than an entirely local build, though only marginally.
Building all 12 boats in Adelaide fulfils the Coalition’s election pledge and also shores up the government’s previously shaky political prospects in Mr Pyne’s home state of South Australia, including his own imperiled seat.
Asked on ABC radio on Wednesday morning why the government had ignored the advice of DCNS that a hybrid build would be more efficient, Mr Pyne said the decision was based on a “clear” recommendation from the Defence Department.
“I’m a member of the national security committee and we received a recommendation from Defence which was very clear, and that was that the French bid was superior and that an all-Australian build with Australian steel, Australian jobs and Australian subs was a recommendation from the Department of Defence and that’s the one that we took,” he said.
“It was a very clear recommendation from Defence and we’ve followed that recommendation.”
Fairfax Media understands Defence said both the all-Australian build and the hybrid option would be acceptable.
Mr Pyne’s office later declined to stand by the remarks and referred questions to Defence Minister Marise Payne’s office.
Mr Pyne is not a regular member of the cabinet’s national security committee but rather, as with all cabinet ministers, attends the committee’s meetings when issues within his portfolio are being discussed, as is the case with submarines and industry.
As part of the “competitive evaluation process”, the bidders from France, Japan and Germany were each asked to submit proposals on building the submarines in Australia, their home countries or a hybrid of both.
The Defence Department assessed these proposals as well as which country had the strongest overall bid.
France was the standout winner in terms of the technical strength of its proposed Shortfin Barracuda boat. But Australian Strategic Policy Institute senior analyst Andrew Davies said he would be surprised if Defence had categorically advised against a hybrid build.
“Given the obvious advantages that could accrue from a hybrid option, and the international precedents for that approach, it would be surprising if Defence would write it off as an option,” he said.
With James Massola
Trent Zimmerman blamed the amalgamations agenda for the swing against the Liberals in December. Photo: James Brickwood Tony Windsor says Barnaby Joyce’s stated opposition to council amalgamation rings hollow. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce during a ‘politics in the pub’ event at the Royal Hotel in Merriwa. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Barnaby Joyce says he supports opposition to the amalgamation of Walcha Council and Tamworth Regional Councils. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Tony Windsor and Barnaby Joyce.
More councils join legal battle with state government over mergersCouncil amalgamations fuelling Liberal backlash in North Sydney byelectionMike Baird sets out the path to fewer councils
They might represent polar opposites inside the Coalition but the Nationals’ Barnaby Joyce and the newly elected Liberal member for North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman, are united on one issue: they want the Baird government to back off on forced amalgamations of councils.
While local government issues rarely impinge on federal politics, the issue of forced amalgamations is threatening to break through during the looming federal campaign, particularly in the bush.
The issue is particularly toxic in regional areas slated for amalgamation because of fears about the impact on community resources and jobs.
On Tuesday, Mr Zimmerman, the new federal MP for North Sydney fronted a crowd of about 100 residents at Lane Cove Country Club, as part of his meet-and-greet program. He faced several questions on the state government’s plan to amalgamate Hunters Hill, Ryde and Lane Cove councils. When Mr Zimmerman called for a show of hands on the issue, all but two indicated they opposed council amalgamations.
Mr Zimmerman blamed the Baird government’s amalgamations agenda in part for the 13.4 per cent swing against the Liberals in December. He’s less sure it will be an issue at a general election, but with three out of four council areas that comprise his seat campaigning against amalgamation, it’s a potential vote changer.
Luckily for the city based Liberals, the most vociferous opponents of council amalgamations are in safe Liberal federal seats.
But outside the cities it’s a different matter.
Barnaby Joyce, the deputy prime minister, is facing a real challenge from independent Tony Windsor, who is running again after not standing against Joyce in the last election. Walcha council, in the seat of New England is vehemently opposed to the Baird government’s plan to amalgamate it with Tamworth Regional council.
“I fully support the strong community calls for the proposed amalgamation of Walcha Council with Tamworth Regional Council to be withdrawn,” Mr Joyce said in a recent press release.
But Mr Windsor, who also opposes the forced council amalgamations, said Mr Joyce’s words ring hollow.
“It’s tokenistic for Joyce to say he opposes the merger when he’s a senior player in the party that is forcing it,” he said.
Mr Windsor if it is a close race the issue of council amalgamations might make the difference.
The issue is also causing angst on the South Coast where the Liberals’ Ann Sudmalis holds the seat of Gilmore by 3.8 per cent. Kiama Council is vehemently opposed to a merger with larger Shoalhaven which is seen as more pro-development.
“This is an area of high unemployment. If we lose a whole stack of positions – professional jobs – and we will over time, that will be a disaster for the community,” she said.
In one of the Liberal party’s most marginal seats, Eden Monaro, held by just 2.9 per cent, the issue of council mergers has been resolved after Palerang Council agreed to merge with Queanbeyan rather than be torn apart.
Other areas where forced amalgamations are causing white hot anger are Oberon, which is in the seat of Calare, held by the Nationals with a 15 per cent margin. There is also strong resistance to the Baird government’s merger plans in Harden and Cootamundra which had proposed to merge, but instead have been directed to merge with other neighbouring councils. Both councils are in the seat of Riverina which the Nationals hold by 19 per cent.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story was amended to make clear that Mr Windsor did not stand in the 2013 federal election and to remove an incorrect statement about Mr Windsor losing to Mr Joyce in that election.
From left: Zoe Haseler, Michaley Phokos, Georgia Clayden and Lara Bowyer with coach Melinda Clarke. Photo: Graham TidyScotland captain Hayley Mulheron will headline a revitalised Canberra Darters squad chasing a maiden finals berth in this year’s Australian Netball League.
Mulheron played in last year’s Netball World Cup, guiding the Scots to second in their pool behind Fiji.
She stayed in Australia after the world cup, and Darters coach Melinda Clarke jumped at the opportunity to sign her as an import for the 2016 season.
Clarke said Mulheron would bring almost 10 years of international experience to the Darters, and would play a large role in the Darters’ squad development.
“Hayley stayed in Australia after the world cup last year, and she’s keen to learn netball the Australian way,” Clarke said.
“She’s made herself available for the ANL and we’re really excited to have her on board. She adds a lot to our defensive line, and certainly will help the younger players adjust to that physicality of the ANL.”
This year’s Australian Netball League has undergone a major overhaul, introducing six double headers with the ANZ Championship across the eight-week season.
The Darters have struggled for consistency since leaving the AIS in 2009 – the last time they made the finals.
Clarke said playing alongside the ANZ Championship would give her players opportunities to be tested against some of the world’s best netballers.
“I think there’s opportunities every week for ANZ players to be playing down against us, so there’s opportunities for our players to test their skill against ANZ-level players, it will help prepare them for the next level.
“For ANZ players to come back down and play at this level will only increase the level of the ANL, it’s going to be a really tough competition for us but also a really great opportunity.”
The Darters welcome back last season’s player of the year Simone Nalder, and have named Michaley Phokos as captain. Phokos said her side’s increased depth would prove crucial against a stronger competition in 2016.
“We have a great team this season, there’s so much depth with the young girls coming up, and also international experience in Hayley Mulheron – the Scottish captain playing world champs, our team is fantastic and I think it’s one of the best we’ve had in a long time,” Phokos said.
“It is important [to have a strong side] especially with it running alongside the ANZ Championship, it’s definitely going to be a really strong competition so I think having that extra depth is going to be really important.”
The Darters return to their spiritual home at the ACT Hockey Centre in Lyneham after playing out of the AIS in recent seasons.
With some of the highest crowds in the league, Phokos said she couldn’t wait to play in front of a raucous Canberra crowd.
“This is where we train, this is where we’ve played since a lot of us have been quite young coming through the state ranks as well.
“The atmosphere is going to be great, playing in front of family and friends, I can’t wait.”
The Darters take on last year’s champions Victoria Fury in their season opener on April 30 before heading home to take on the Southern Force on May 14.
Australian Netball League round 1: Victoria Fury v Canberra Darters at State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne at 6pm.
Slater & Gordon is working hard to bed down a debt deal with its bankers. Photo: Ken IrwinThe former boss of UK professional services outfit Quindell, Rob Terry, says Slater and Gordon “got a bargain” in its $1.3 billion acquisition of the scandal-ridden group.
Mr Terry also says he made £30 million ($A56 million) from the deal and strongly disputes the need for the accounting restatements by Quindell post Slater and Gordon’s purchase of the UK-based Quindell, the UK’s The Telegraph newspaper reports.
Mr Terry’s comments come as Slater & Gordon is working furiously to bed down a lifesaving deal with its banking syndicate by April 30 after a near $900 million writedown, of which $814 million is linked to its ill-fated acquisition of Quindell.
“I feel sorry for Slater & Gordon for some of the hassle that they’ve had with the business. I still feel they got a bargain when they bought it,” Mr Terry reportedly said. Restated accounts
Quindell, which became subject to a Serious Fraud Office investigation in Britain two months after Slater & Gordon’s acquisition of the company was formalised, was forced to restate its accounts for its 2013 year.
The restated accounts led to Quindell booking a £64 million loss for the year when it had previously reported a £107 million profit. Quindell, which changed its name to Watchstone after the sale of its professional services arm to Slater & Gordon, also restated its revenues to £247 million from £380 million previously.
Mr Terry, who left Quindell in 2014 after the company ran into trouble, described the restatement of the accounts as “quite stupid really”.
“I think the restatement of revenues is just totally ridiculous and doesn’t bear any basis of an ongoing business,” Mr Terry told the newspaper.
Slater & Gordon has seen its share price tumble from over $7 to sluggish growth in Australia, to at one point as little as 21.5 cents. Hope of a debt deal has recently led the share price higher closing yesterday at 33¢.
One of the group’s key bankers Westpac has recently increased the amount of stressed loans in its business services loan book by $300 million and analysts believe the allocation relates to Slater & Gordon. ‘Lost a lot of money’
Slater & Gordon’s banks, which also includes National Australia Bank, are expected to take a significant haircut on the $841 million they have loaned to Slater & Gordon, analyst sources said.
Mr Terry also described the Watchstone shareholders who have legal action against him over the collapse of the company’s share price as a “bunch of idiots”.
Mr Terry said that while he had made a lot of money out of Quindell he still sold his shares below what they were worth at the peak and he “lost a lot of money”.
“I exited with sort of £35m, £40m, in that order of magnitude. I’d invested personally over £12m so you could say the profit was about thirtyish,” Mr Terry said, adding he did feel sorry for other people who had lost money.
Slater & Gordon declined to comment on Mr Terry’s statements.
Fairfax Media was unable to make contact with Mr Terry.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt, left, confers with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with environment spokesman Mark Butler and MP Gai Brodtmann at a solar farm near Canberra last year. Photo: Andrew Meares
Labor’s climate policy promises deeper carbon cuts
To Bill Shorten and Labor’s credit, the party is not shirking from an election fight over climate change.
While groups such as The Climate Institute and the Greens will question whether targets for emissions cuts – close to double the Coalition’s by 2030 – go far enough, Shorten is sending a clear signal he’s willing to make climate a centrepiece of the 2016 election campaign.
Labor’s strategy, including an emissions trading scheme, has its risks.
The success of Tony Abbott’s scare campaign against the carbon tax prompted then environment spokesman Greg Hunt to predict the 2013 election would be the last in a generation to feature climate change prominently.
That assessment has been an early casualty in this campaign.
Elements of the media have resurrected their “zombies from the grave” cartoons to freak out voters about “a carbon tax designed to hit both industry and households”.
Liberal YouTube ads have been launched from Wednesday, seeking to resurrect the ghost of Julia Gillard.
Malcolm Turnbull, who lost his job as opposition leader in 2009 for his strident support of an emissions trading scheme, knows well such a market does not equate to tax. Labor expects no revenue.
That, of course, didn’t stop the Prime Minister railing against Labor’s proposal on Wednesday, even if he didn’t sound entirely convincing: “What Labor is proposing to do is another – a, effectively another tax.”
Finding his footing, Turnbull declared Labor’s 2030 target would “very significantly increase the cost of energy, the cost of electricity and all other power”.
“So that is going to be another brake on the economy.”
On cue, Hunt revived the largest number he could find: Wholesale power prices would leap 78 per cent by 2030, according to Treasury modelling “when Labor was in government”.
Hunt, though, is stretching things. The Climate Change Authority, which sought the modelling in 2013 said it “did not project the costs to Australia of pursuing a 40 to 60 per cent emission reduction target by 2030 (or any other 2030 target for that matter)”.
Labor, though, believes it can weather whatever storm the Coalition or right-wing sections of the Australian media whip up.
Polls suggest concern about climate change is bouncing back. That suggests if people haven’t made up their mind about climate change, they are more likely to favour taking action when they do.
Disengaged voters may not be aware of the torrent of global heat records in recent months but few would have been able to ignore another season of severe bushfires in regions from Tasmania to Western Australia, the horrifying video clips of the bleaching Great Barrier Reef, or unusual late-season warmth that has a way to run yet for many parts of the nation.
Labor also senses Turnbull’s vulnerability.
Abbott would never have said, as Turnbull did on Wednesday: “I take climate change very seriously. I take global warming very seriously. I take the challenge that the world faces to reduce emissions very seriously.”
As Labor’s environment spokesman, Mark Butler, told Fairfax Media on Tuesday: “We want climate change and renewable energy to be part of the election debate. Malcolm Turnbull knows in his heart of hearts that Direct Action [policy to pay polluters to cut back] isn’t working, and was one of the earliest people to call it out as an environmental fig leaf.”
He knows you can’t have a position where you don’t have a renewable energy policy beyond 2020. You can’t have a return to this return to broadscale land clearing that we’re seeing in Queensland but he’s not willing to do anything about.”
The early polarisation of positions, while predictable, doesn’t send a very reassuring message about the prospects of climate politics becoming less partisan soon.
Should Turnbull lose, does anybody expect his successor to take climate policy as seriously?
Should Shorten lose, will his replacement likely move closer to the Coalition’s policy and risk ceding more ground to the Greens? (The Greens, for instance, want 90 per cent renewable power by 2030 versus Labor’s 50 per cent.)
Frank Jotzo, one of Australia’s most innovative thinkers on climate policy based at the Australian National University, finds much to like in Labor’s policy platform.
Adopting the ALP’s goal of cutting 2005 level carbon emissions 45 per cent by 2030 is “in line” with the so-called “high ambition coalition” nations at the Paris climate summit. Turnbull is stuck with Abbott’s 26 per cent to 28 per cent target.
Jotzo also notes that while much detail remains to be added to Labor’s policy, the government has committed to its own climate change policy review next year.
“My hope is that climate change policy will not once again become a political football between the two major parties, but that there will be a serious contest of ideas and proposals,” he said.
Even the Business Council of Australia saw merit in Labor’s policy, which “could provide a platform for bipartisanship to deliver the energy and climate change policy durability needed to support this critical transformation”, BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
On what we’ve seen so far, both Jotzo and Westacott’s bipartisan hopes aren’t looking good: the political football is already in play.
Your humble correspondent writes from New York where the sportsman making all the headlines is the most successful Olympian of all time, with 11 – count ’em, ELEVEN – individual gold medals to his credit, Michael Phelps.The headlines are not because, with seemingly nothing else that commends itself to do with his life, he is just about on his way to selection for his fifth Olympic Games.
No, it’s because the 30-year-old has just told Matt Lauer on the American Today Show how, at one point when his life was falling apart, with alcoholic binges, two DUI arrests, time in rehab, “the sort of the path that I was going down,” meant there could have been only one end had he not got off it.
“I think a lot of people close to me saw it. And I was going fast. Fast. Honestly, at one point I felt like I didn’t want to see another day.”
Yes, that’s right.
The most successful Olympian of all time, the greatest swimmer the world has known, had so completely lost his way, he was no longer sure he wanted to live. The good news is he is now completely off the grog, is going to be a father, and seems to sort of have his life back together.
“I’m actually happy every day,” he said in another interview. “I’m actually able to be productive every day. I think that’s something that I am very proud of and, you know, I think when I do retire I’ll be able to look back and say that [rehab] was something that really helped.”
But still, the resemblance to the experience of our own swimmers is uncanny, ain’t it?
Grant Hackett, of course, made headlines for all the wrong reasons just last week, and he has been commendably frank about just how much he has struggled to find meaning after his swimming career was over.
Ian Thorpe, has been equally upfront about his struggles with depression, and has done his own time in rehab.
Kieren Perkins has noted many times how hard he found it once his swimming career was over, and how he had little idea how to live his life once the structure of swimming was removed from it.
Scott Miller? The silver medallist from the Atlanta Olympics was lucky to avoid jail for a variety of low-brow crimes and misdemeanours and was last seen in the public domain leaving a courthouse.
But look at that list above. All male swimmers, all of them the best or near best in the world, with seemingly the world at their feet. And yet all of them lost their way – some dangerously enough to intimate that suicide was a serious option.
So I’ll ask the obvious.
Is it swimming itself that is at least part of the problem? Is it that swimming is now to the point that the only way you get to be world class is by training to such extremes that all the other life-skills that the rest of us pick up along the way, are left in their wake – meaning they struggle so badly once it’s all over. And you’re right, the same problems don’t seem to show up in the female swimmer, though Shane Gould has always been strong on the ground that while there is always huge support to get to the top of the mountain, there is bugger all help to get down the other side once you’ve retired.
The solution? Not sure, but it certainly starts with recognition of the problem.
Lifeline: 131 114
ANGRY: Cr Brad Luke says the minutes should have been corrected.
LIBERAL councillor Brad Luke has slammed a decision by Newcastle City Council to defer a vote to correct minutes of a previous meeting, describing it as “damning of the organisation”.
The minutesrelate to commentsbylord mayor Nuatali Nelmesat the December meeting when shenamedcouncillorsLuke, SharonWaterhouse and Andrea Rufo as having forwarded emails containing confidential council legal advice. The advice criticisedprocesses used to sack former general manager Ken Gouldthorp.
Cr Declan Clausen (Labor) moved an amendment to the minutes in February which said the comment made bythe lord mayor was“a statement of fact as advised by the Acting Interim Chief Executive Officer”. However, the interim CEO, Frank Cordingley, said a transcript had shown that amendment to be incorrect and recommended the replacement wording “as the Lord Mayor understood it to be”.
After 15 minutes, councillors deferred the matter to seekprocedural advice.
Cr Jason Dunn (Labor) had earlier asked the council’s manager of legal services, Frank Giordano, to clarify whether the altering of minutes that had already been adopted would require a rescission motion of council.
Mr Giordano indicated that the recommendation was not seeking to rescind a resolution but to correct the record so as “to comply with council’s statutory duty”. However, Cr Nelmes indicated she would like to seek further legal advice and invited a motion from the floor to that effect, which was moved by Cr Stephanie Posniak (Labor).
Cr Luke said later he could see no reason for the matter to have beendeferred when the council’s legal officer had indicated there was no issue with the council making the recommended correction to the minutes.
“I can’t think of a worse governance position than for the council to have incorrect minutes on its books when they could have been correct,” he said.
Cr Clausen, who introduced a second motion to the debate seeking for council to be updated on an investigation into the leaking of the confidential legal advice, saidhe was disappointed the council record remained incorrect.
“Despite a very lengthy review process, council was provided with a set of draft minutes which incorrectly recorded the[December]meeting,”he said.
“At the February meeting councillors agreed that these minutes needed to be updated to accurately reflect what occurred at the meeting. I suggested changes, which were subsequently adopted by the council, having listened to the digital recording of the meeting.
“My motion last night related to a matter arising from these minutes relating to the alleged leak of confidential legal advice. Council had previously been advised that an investigation would be undertaken, however after six months no formal report has been provided. The community expects that these issues will be promptly addressed, and my motion sought to ensure that this is undertaken in a timely manner.”