Skip to Content
Department of Premier and Cabinet

Board of Inquiry - Glenorchy City Council

On 14 October 2015, the Minister for Planning and Local Government, Peter Gutwein MP, announced the establishment of a Board of Inquiry under section 215(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) to investigate the Glenorchy City Council.

The Minister  established the Board of Inquiry because he was satisfied that:

(a)  following considerable and ongoing public concern and investigations by the Director of Local Government, significant divisions continued to exist within the Glenorchy City Council as well as between elected members and senior staff;

(b)  such divisions and poor relationships adversely impacted on governance arrangements and were not conducive to good decision making; and

(c)  all efforts to overcome the divisions within the Council had failed.

The function of a Board of Inquiry is to conduct an inquiry into any matter referred to it by the Minister responsible for local government and to make recommendations to the Minister as a result of its inquiry. A Board of Inquiry is to conduct an inquiry with as little formality and technicality as a proper consideration of the matter before it permits and must observe the rules of natural justice.

The powers and functions of the Board of Inquiry are set out in Part 13, Division 1 of the Act. The Terms of Reference are provided for your information.

Board of Inquiry Report

The Board of Inquiry completed its report in November 2017. The report was provided to the Minister for Planning and Local Government on 16 November 2017 in accordance with Section 224(1) of the Act. The Glenorchy City Council Board of Inquiry Report November 2017 is available to download.

The Minister for Planning and Local Government tabled the Board of Inquiry’s report in Parliament on 28 November 2017.

The Board of Inquiry found:

(a) the failure of the Council to perform many of its functions seriously affected the operation of the council; and

(b) the irregularity of the conduct of the Council seriously affected the operation of the Council. Further, the Board found that the Council failed to provide leadership and good governance to the city and was in need of major reforms in governance and management. The Board was strongly of the view that this could not be achieved by the Council elected in October 2014, and a management structure which includes the current general manager and the current Director of Corporate Governance and General Council.

As a result of these findings, the Board recommended that:

  • the Minister recommend that the Governor by order dismiss the councillors, in accordance with s 226 of the Local Government Act 1993;
  • That a Commissioner be appointed in accordance with s 231 of the Act;
  • That the Commissioner immediately implement an extensive review of management practices at Glenorchy City Council, with reference to its responsibilities for good governance, organisational health, and effective, efficient, and compliant operational management;
  • That the Glenorchy City Council Board of Inquiry Report be released in accordance with s 227 of the Act, to inform the Tasmanian community and particularly the residents and ratepayers of Glenorchy City Council of the findings and recommendations of the Board, and to facilitate greater community involvement in the election and monitoring of the next Glenorchy City Council.

Membership of the Board

The members of the Board of Inquiry were Mr Barry Easther and Ms Lynn Mason, with secretarial support from the Local Government Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Mr Easther is a previous Mayor of the West Tamar Council and a past President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT).

Ms Mason is a former President of LGAT, former Mayor of the Flinders Council, former Director of Quadrant Superannuation Fund and Chairwoman of Metro Tasmania, and the Tasmanian Community Fund.

Further information

For further information on the Inquiry please contact the Local Government Division either by telephone on (03) 6232 7022 or by email to lgd@dpac.tas.gov.au.