Hornsby all clear on cor­rup­tion charges

Monthly Chronicle - - News -

Hornsby Coun­cil staff are in the clear af­ter al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion re­gard­ing de­vel­op­ment of a con­tro­ver­sial property on Gee­lans Road, Ar­ca­dia.

An in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion, car­ried out by a for­mer high rank­ing mem­ber of the NSW Po­lice, found no ev­i­dence of im­pro­pri­ety or mis­con­duct by any­body at Coun­cil.

It did un­cover sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence of al­leged mis­con­duct by par­ties ex­ter­nal to Coun­cil, but those de­tails can­not be re­vealed be­cause that would prej­u­dice in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­ing car­ried out by other au­thor­i­ties.

“I’m not sur­prised by the find­ings of the re­port be­cause I never sus­pected any cor­rupt be­hav­iour,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Rud­dock said.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion was only com­mis­sioned be­cause of se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions be­ing thrown around and those staff mem­bers de­served a chance to have their names of­fi­cially cleared.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tions have demon­strated it is sim­ply mis­guided to lay blame for the wrong­do­ing of other par­ties on the Coun­cil of­fi­cers.

“These par­ties went to great lengths to con­ceal ac­tions in ap­par­ent dis­re­gard for the de­vel­op­ment ap­proval from both Coun­cil and the EPA.”

The re­port makes spe­cial men­tion of the co­op­er­a­tion and transparency of Coun­cil’s staff through­out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Coun­cil’s staff knew they had noth­ing to hide and were ea­ger to as­sist the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in every way pos­si­ble,” Mayor Rud­dock said.

“The re­port has made a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions that aim to im­prove Coun­cil’s abil­ity to de­tect and halt il­le­gal con­duct sooner.

“As long as un­scrupu­lous peo­ple can ben­e­fit from dump­ing as­bestos there will al­ways be a risk of it hap­pen­ing, but we will be work­ing hard to re­duce the risk in our com­mu­nity.

“We’re sorry the Gee­lans Road com­mu­nity has been put through this or­deal, but we are mind­ful that the il­le­gal dis­posal of as­bestos is a chal­lenge for au­thor­i­ties that goes well be­yond Gee­lans Road and af­fects prop­er­ties across the state.”

Coun­cil is con­tin­u­ing to work with the EPA to seek an ap­pro­pri­ate res­o­lu­tion for the residents of Ar­ca­dia.

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