Moving to the second round

Posted Thursday 29 September 2016

On Tuesday 20 September Justice Moore (Land and Environment Court) found that the Delegate’s report regarding the proposed merger of Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby was not valid because it failed to address one of the mandatory requirements of the Local Government Act, namely to have regard “to the need to ensure that the opinions of each of the diverse communities of the resulting area or areas are effectively represented.”

Justice Moore also ruled that unless alternative orders are submitted, the respondents, including the Minister for Local Government, are to pay Mosman Council’s costs.

This means that the Delegate will need to rectify the shortcoming identified in the court’s judgment. There can be no
proclamation regarding the proposed merger until this task and other statutory requirements are completed.

Council’s view, which has been conveyed to the Delegate, is that the Delegate must now consider all aspects of his
report based on any information that has arisen since he signed the original report in mid-April and that he must invite public submissions accordingly.

Further, following legal advice, Council has lodged an intent to appeal various aspects of Justice Moore’s findings.

As I have previously noted, a large part of the Delegate’s report was the same word-for-word as the separate Delegate’s report on our previous proposed merger with Manly and part Warringah. I note that the Delegate for
the latter report told Councillors that he would be obtaining support from officers in the Department of Premier
and Cabinet.

Moreover, apart from a brief mention of the Mosman Council submission, the Delegate’s report on our proposed
merger with North Sydney and Willoughby failed to reference any of the some 900 well-informed and well-argued
objections to the merger.

Can we hope for a more objective and professional report this time around???