Pittwater's Phil Walker's GIPA Application For the KPMG ‘Business Case’ on forcibly amalgamated councils
Amalgamation of NSW councils was based on analysis by consultancy KPMG. The government will not release it. A Pittwater citizen is using FOI legislation to force disclosure in court at the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
Pittwater resident Phil Walker has brought a GIPA (freedom of information) application for the KPMG ‘Business Case’ and source documents used by the Baird/Berejiklian Government to force council amalgamations, including that of Pittwater.
He argues that the Government has waived Cabinet privilege over source KPMG documents by publicly releasing and relying on a short form KPMG summary report and merger proposals that directly named those sources.
Mr. Walker also alleges that the Premier’s Department has failed to carry out adequate searches.
The films below have been put together by John Illingsworth. This Report by Phil Jenkyn OAM, Save Our Councils Coalition (SOCC), whom readers may remember through Pittwater Online News' Inaugural Sydney Harbour and Coast Walk series.
Mr. Walker has previously worked with the Save Beeby Park Committee, among other community focused groups such as Save Mona Vale, which focused on the Mona Vale Place Plan and residents who were trying to stop all the large trees being cut down in Mona Vale's Village Park during B-Line construction works.
The tree cull went ahead.
1. PHIL WALKER GIPA APPLICATION – INTRODUCTION VIDEO PART 1 (16:44)
SEEKING KPMG BUSINESS CASE ON FORCED COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS 19 MARCH 2018
The Government based its case for destroying 78 councils across NSW on a summary KPMG report containing final figures with nominated sources, alleging financial benefits from mergers.
The Government refuses to release these KPMG sources, including the ‘Business Case’ and ‘merger impacts and analysis’, on the basis of ‘Cabinet-in-confidence’.
However, to date they have released over 40 KPMG documents to Phil Walker in this GIPA application, all stamped ‘Cabinet-in-confidence’. They have waived their privilege over those documents. Are they not also by their actions deemed to have waived any claim of ‘Cabinet-in-confidence’ over KPMG source documents?
Shouldn’t the Government publicly release these kinds of documents anyway, whether it is over forced amalgamations, moving the Powerhouse, building stadiums or light rail or motorways? Doesn’t the public interest, fairness and transparency demand it?
This is the second (Part 2) of a number of videos that will follow this case through to completion.
2. PHIL WALKER GIPA APPLICATION – CABINET-IN-CONFIDENCE VIDEO PART 2 (13:29)
SEEKING KPMG BUSINESS CASE ON FORCED COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS 19 MARCH 2018
Phil Walker was in court on 26 March at a directions hearing before the Tribunal.
Issues arose relating to representation, the scope of the application and evidence to be called for the hearing.
In Hyde Park afterwards, a discussion ensued between Phil Walker and Phil Jenkyn about the preparation needed for the hearing, affidavit evidence about surrounding circumstances and KPMG reports, and generally about the conduct of the Department and Government.
A Government hiding KPMG source material while at the same time spruiking billions of dollars of alleged benefits from the KPMG report is a low act and a complete disgrace.
Those who fight for the public interest should never be seen by governments as the enemy.
This is the third (Part 3) of a number of videos that will follow this case through to completion.
3. PHIL WALKER GIPA APPLICATION – PREPARATION VIDEO PART 3 (7:46)
SEEKING KPMG BUSINESS CASE ON FORCED COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS 26 MARCH 2018
Hearing day arrived at NCAT on 10 April 2018. The Crown witnesses cross-examined by Phil Walker revealed inadequate searching for KPMG documents. Walker’s evidence included the affidavit of Phil Jenkyn, who was not cross-examined. The Applicant is to file a further written submission by 17 April and the Crown by 15 May. The case will then await decision.
Evidence uncovered through GIPA legislation and at NCAT will be helpful in Pittwater getting its council back.
This is the fourth (Part 4) of a number of videos that will follow this case through to completion.
4. PHIL WALKER GIPA APPLICATION – THE HEARING VIDEO PART 4 (14:43)
SEEKING KPMG BUSINESS CASE ON FORCED COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS 10 APRIL 2018
Pittwater - Amalgamation Proposal
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