Council welcomes Supplementary Interim Report for Public Inquiry ToR 4

09 Aug 2019

For the second time following false allegations by 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley, the Council has been vindicated by an independent Public Inquiry.

The ‘Supplementary Interim Report’ issued yesterday by the Public Inquiry into the Blue Mountains City Council has emphatically confirmed the Inquiry’s earlier findings to the effect that the Council acted appropriately in respect of its engagement of independent investigators to examine certain asbestos and staffing issues, and has emphatically rejected Mr Hadley’s allegation that the Council and some of its staff misled the Inquiry.

The Public Inquiry conducted public hearings in April this year and on 7 May issued an Interim Report on Term of Reference No. 4. That Report vindicated the Council in respect of allegations that were broadcast in February 2018.  On 16 May 2019, there was again a broadcast of serious allegations to the effect that the Inquiry’s Interim Report had reached wrong conclusions because Council witnesses had given inaccurate evidence (and had even lied) and the Council had provided misleading documents to the Inquiry.  

Now, following further hearings and additional documentary evidence, the accuracy of the Inquiry’s original findings, and the accuracy of the evidence that had been provided by the Council and its staff, have been confirmed.  

In particular, the Inquiry’s Supplementary Interim Report is clear and express in saying that:

  • The original findings to the effect that the February 2018 broadcasts “were factually inaccurate” (except in one minor respect) “are confirmed”: Report at par. [14].
  • The original finding “that Mr Tooma did not at any stage have any relevant conflict of interest is confirmed”: [15].
  • The original finding “that the Council’s response to the false assertion that Mr Tooma had a conflict of interest was reasonable and appropriate, is confirmed”: [16].
  • The original finding that the relevant conduct of the Council was in accordance with the Council’s statutory obligations “is confirmed”: [17]
  • The Inquiry “was not misled by any evidence given by any witness in the April hearings”: [18].
  • The Inquiry “was not misled by any document prepared by Council” and, in particular the main document under consideration at the re-opened inquiry “is factually accurate and reliable”: [18]
  • The Inquiry “was not lied to by any witness in the April Hearings”: [18]

To the contrary, the Inquiry found that both the Council’s General Manager, and its former employee Mr Mark Mulligan “gave truthful and reliable evidence”: [27].  The Supplementary Interim Report stated that the Commissioner “was not lied to by Dr Dillon, the Council’s General Manager” and that “the document prepared by Ms TeBay… is factually accurate and reliable”.

The Supplementary Interim Report also stated: “The reopening of Term of Reference 4 caused unexpected cost.  Some of that cost will be borne by the ratepayers of the Blue Mountains in not only legal fees, but in the time that senior staff have been taken away from their normal duties to attend the Inquiry. It also comes at a cost to taxpayers of New South Wales.”

Blue Mountains City Council thanks the Public Inquiry for its comprehensive and careful work. We will continue to support and co-operate with the Inquiry.

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