Commission of Inquiry into Greater Geelong City Council
In December 2015, an independent Commission of Inquiry into Greater Geelong City Council was appointed under section 209 of the Local Government Act 1989.
The Commission was established in response to the findings of the Workplace Culture Review. The review was conducted at the request of the Minister, and included allegations of serious bullying.
The Commission of Inquiry did not investigate individual cases of bullying, but sought to determine if failures of council governance arrangements contributed to these findings. These matters are outlined in the Commission's Terms of Reference.
Three commissioners were appointed:
- Mr Terry Moran AC former head of the Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and former head of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and expert in public administration and governance.
- Ms Jude Munro AO former CEO of Brisbane City Council and expert in the local government sector.
- Ms Frances O'Brien QC a senior barrister at the Victorian Bar with extensive experience in employment law and forensic examination of evidence.
Commission of Inquiry Report
The Commission of Inquiry into Greater Geelong City Council handed its report to the Hon Natalie Hutchins MP, former Minister for Local Government, on 31 March 2016.
The Hon Natalie Hutchins MP tabled the Commission of Inquiry's report in the Victorian Parliament on 12 April 2016.
To conduct an inquiry into the adequacy of the current governance structures at the Greater Geelong City Council (council) in providing good government, with particular regard to the following matters:
- Whether there is sufficient clarity in the respective roles and responsibilities at all levels within council to ensure good governance.
- The efficiency and effectiveness of council governance arrangements in delivering services to its constituents.
- The relationship between matters identified in the Workplace Cultural Review and the governance arrangements of the council.
- Any factors that are impeding council’s ability to provide good government to its constituents.
To provide a report to the Minister for Local Government containing:
- The findings of the Commission, and
- Recommendations for action by the Minister for Local Government
Greater Geelong City Council Administrators
The Greater Geelong City Council was dismissed in April 2016 by the Local Government (Greater Geelong City Council) Act 2016, following the inquiry.
Three administrators, appointed by the Victorian Government, were appointed to act as the Greater Geelong City Council until the next council elections are held in October 2017. The administrators are:
- Dr Kathy Alexander (Chair) an experienced CEO, board director and consultant, and former City of Melbourne CEO for more than six years. Dr Alexander was CEO of Women's and Children's Health, which governed the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) and the Royal Women's Hospital (RWH). Dr Alexander is a former South Australian Telstra Businesswoman of the Year and chair of not-for-profit organisations. As Chair, she will fulfil the role of Mayor.
- Peter Dorling business manager at Avalon Airport, a director of the Victorian Regional Panels Authority, a member of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre Trust, and the former executive director of the Committee for Geelong. He has considerable experience providing strategic planning and leadership for the Geelong community. He will cease to be the chair of the Geelong Authority.
- Laurinda Gardner former senior government executive and experienced member of not-for-profit, state and local government boards. Ms Gardner is currently the Deputy Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Authority and also works as a leadership and change management consultant.
The panel replaced the interim administrator Yehudi Blacher, who had been working with the CEO and staff since the council was dismissed.
Media Release: Administrators appointed to Geelong
Geelong Citizens’ Jury
During the debate of the Local Government (Greater Geelong City Council) Act 2016, the government committed to consult the Greater Geelong community about the structure of its future elected council.
The Geelong citizens' jury was the primary method the government selected to carry out this work.