Lismores no to cash flow

By ANDY PARKS

LISMORE City is the only Northern Rivers local council that won't be contributing to a fund to meet costs Sydney's Bankstown City Council may face over a legal case involving a leaky drain.

Byron Shire councillors yesterday voted to contribute almost $10,000 towards Bankstown council's legal costs after a successful High Court challenge to the case.

All councils in NSW have been asked by the Local Government Association to contribute to the costs and, with the exception of Lismore, all Northern Rivers councils have agreed.

A Lismore City Council spokeswoman yesterday could not confirm the reasoning behind its decision but said the matter was not subject to a vote by councillors.

The matter is known as the Alamdo case because it involved property belonging to Alamdo Holdings. The property was flooded after water overflowed from an unlined stormwater channel belonging to Bankstown council in 1998 and 2000.

The case went to the High Court in 2005, reaffirming the protection NSW local councils receive against liability in respect to flood-liable land.

The case has set a precedent in relation to section 733 of the Local Government Act and would effect all NSW councils. The case relates to 'anything done or omitted to be done' in relation to 'exemption from liability ... in flood-liable land and land in a coastal zone'.

Ballina Shire Council has contributed $10,372, Kyogle $7733 and Richmond Valley $3279, a third of the amount requested by the Local Government Association.

The amount sought from councils is determined by an association formula, which is based on the council's population and revenue.

For many years the NSW Local Government and Shires Association has managed a scheme which covers litigation costs incurred by a member council on a matter of relevance to other NSW councils. Bankstown City Council's costs in the Alamdo matter amount to more than $1.5m.

The High Court asked Bankstown council to give an undertaking to agree to bear the costs of the appeal as it was attempting to set a precedent for all other councils, and that Alamdo not be held liable.



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