Councils warned to lift their actlift their act

By BREE PRICE

NORTHERN Rivers councils have been warned they could receive surprise visits from internal investigators under a crackdown by the State Government.

Minister for Local Government Tony Kelly issued the warning yesterday at a regional meeting of the Shires' Association of NSW in Casino.

He said the team of 10 investigators would be looking into the operation of councils following the receipt of a complaint.

However, he said the team could be also invited in by a council to sort out the early stages of any evident problem.

"In two years there have been four inquiries and four councils dismissed," Mr Kelly said.

"I'm concerned there are so many inquiries.

"We have brought in 10 investigators and the idea is for them to turn up and get the council back on the straight and narrow.

"Some investigators will turn up unannounced, or it might be at the invitation of the council. That's also there if you need it."

The introduction of the investigators is in addition to the implementation of a code of conduct for local government, mandated on January 1 this year.

The code regulates the rights of mayors and councillors, as well as how to achieve good governance.



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