Minister intervenes in council dispute

19th May 2020
Janelle Stewart

On Tuesday, the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock issued Armidale Regional Council with a notice of intention to suspend it for three months and appoint an interim administrator.
It follows serious concerns about the council’s ability to function properly and effectively following a breakdown of relationships between councillors and key council officers and significant reputational, legal and work, health and safety risks.
The move comes one week after Northern Tablelands MP Adam
Marshall requested the urgent intervention of the Minister to resolve what he described as significant issues of
dysfunction within the leadership of Armidale Regional Council.
Mr Marshall said that he welcomes the Minister’s swift and strong action and this notice of intention is hopefully the first step toward sorting out the
issues plaguing Armidale Regional Council and putting its focus back where it should be – providing effective and united leadership for the region and delivering for the local community.
“Our region and our communities
expect and deserve much better than they’ve been getting of late from council,” Mr Marshall said. “With the Minister’s timely action, the ball is now firmly in council’s court to step up to the mark or be moved out of the way.”
Under the Local Government Act, the Minister is required to provide the council with the opportunity to make any submission before making a final determination on suspension.
The council now has fourteen days to make a submission as to why it should not be suspended and an independent administrator appointed for three months. By law the Minister must consider any submission before making a final decision.
Suspension would apply to the mayor and councillors. It would not affect council staff and daily operations. The interim administrator would perform the functions of the mayor and councillors.