Terry Moran to lead City of Geelong inquiry

By David Donaldson

December 2, 2015

The commission of inquiry into the governance arrangements and relationships at the City of Geelong will be headed up by one of the nation’s most experienced public servants.

Former secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Terry Moran has been given the task, it was revealed this week.

Geelong’s colourful mayor Darryn Lyons (pictured) says he’ll fully cooperate with the inquiry.

Moran, who was also previously secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, will be joined by former Brisbane City Council CEO Jude Munro and barrister Frances O’Brien, announced Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins. Their appointment will be from January 4 until March 2016, when they will report back to the state government.

The inquiry follows a report by former federal Sex Discrimination Comissioner Susan Halliday that stated there was a culture of bullying, favouritism and sexism at the council. An EY quantitative survey found around one-third of council employees had witnessed workplace bullying in the previous year.

The inquiry will look at a range of matters including:

  • If there is sufficient clarity in the roles and responsibilities at all levels within Council;
  • The efficiency and effectiveness of governance arrangements in delivering services to constituents;
  • The relationship between matters identified by Susan Halliday and the governance of the city.

“The Halliday Report revealed some deep flaws in the Geelong City Council,” said Hutchins.

“Whilst the council put plans into action to reform the organisational culture it is incumbent on the state government to take action to ensure the city has the first class governance it deserves.

“I want to make sure that the council is set up to provide the leadership necessary to ensure this never happens again and it is held accountable.”

Victoria’s Local Government Act provides the inquiry with broad ranging powers including summoning witnesses, requiring the production of documents and full access to the council and its documents.

Commissions of inquiry have previously been undertaken into Surf Coast Shire in 2002-03, Nillumbik Shire in 1998 and the City of Darebin in 1997.

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