EXCLUSIVE | Minister Gabrielle Upton moves to suspend Blue Mountains City Council for a second time
Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton has moved to suspend Blue Mountains City Council for a second time following Ray Hadley’s revelations about asbestos mismanagement and a conflict of interest in the ‘independent’ investigation.
Ray Hadley has consistently fought for better management of the harmful substance and called on Council to take accountability for asbestos issues.
Ms Upton today issued a notice of intention to suspend the council for three months and appoint an interim administrator.
This comes less than 24 hours after Ray revealed the lawyer engaged to lead the independent investigation into asbestos management at Council has a personal relationship with senior member of staff Mark Mulligan.
In a statement she says:
“In November last year the council commissioned independent investigations into asbestos management and staff recruitment practices after serious allegations were made against it,” Ms Upton said.
“It has now emerged that an independent investigator engaged to oversee the investigation into asbestos management appears to have had links to one of the council’s senior staff members subject to investigation.
“This independent investigation is critical to addressing the serious issues facing this council. However, it seems that the relationship between the independent investigator and the senior staff member was not just professional, they were friends.
“This relationship would be a serious conflict of interest and brings into question the council’s governance and due diligence practices.
“I have also been informed that the council has now ended its contract with the senior staff member.
“The council’s poor record on asbestos management, failure to protect its community and the serious questions on the broader operation of the council are deeply concerning.”
The council now has seven days to respond to the notice.
Listen to Ray’s comments on the update below
This also follows Ray Hadley’s interview with Minister for Better Regulation, Matt Kean, on what it will take to take to keep the community safe.
A hotline has been set up to allow anyone with information or concerns about Blue Mountains City Council to report it directly to the Office of Local Government.
Reports can be made anonymously.
Hotline number: 1800 291 051