Local government minister orders enquiry into Liverpool Council

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On April 5, Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun was all smiles standing next to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the official opening of Liverpool civic place. Also in the photo is the CEO John Ajaka (left) and several councillors.

There won’t be too many happy faces now that Minister for Local Government Ron Hoenig has ordered an investigation into Liverpool Council.

The council has this week plunged into crisis after the CEO was suspended amid claims and counter claims more than 100 workers were about to lose their jobs.

Nathan Hagarty, the Member for Leppington, who has been calling for an investigation, has welcomed the announcement.

“I welcome this much-needed inquiry following the obvious dysfunction and chaos which has plagued Liverpool City Council,’’ said Mr Hagarty in a statement issued just after 5pm.

“Liverpool Council has been the subject of scandal after scandal in recent months, and it’s time we finally get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

“The people of Liverpool deserve better. In a cost of living crisis, we simply cannot afford to have a Council more focussed on itself instead of providing basic services to the community.

“The transparency of sunlight is the best disinfectant. I encourage all those with any information about malfeasance and mismanagement at Council to come forward so these issues can be resolved once and for all,’’ Mr Hagarty said.

Local government minister Hoenig says he has requested the Office of Local Government to undertake an investigation into Liverpool City Council.

The Section 430 investigation will look at whether there has been a breakdown in the council’s operations amid ongoing reports about dysfunction and staff matters within council.

Under Section 430, the Deputy Secretary Local Government has the power to carry out investigations into council operations either independently or at the request of the minister for local government.

The terms of reference for the inquiry will be finalised in the coming days and will be available on the Office of Local Government website.

A report into the investigation will be provided to the minister for local government and Liverpool City Council.

“I’ve been concerned about the operations of Liverpool Council for some time and it’s clear there’s a fractured relationship between councillors and staff,’’ Mr Hoenig said.

“I’ve asked the Office of Local Government to undertake an investigation into the council because the local community needs reassurance that their council is operating properly.

“Elected officials have a responsibility to their communities to operate effectively and efficiently, and I’m concerned about the level of dysfunction within Liverpool Council that is playing out publicly.

“A robust investigation undertaken by the OLG will shore up public confidence and ensure council is focused on delivering for its community.”

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