18 June 2019
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (14:51): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, representing the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, questions regarding the Burnside council.
The PRESIDENT: Leader of the Opposition, I cannot hear the Hon. Mr Darley. Show him some courtesy. The Hon. Mr Darley, please continue.
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: In 2011, the government decided to scrap an investigation into allegations of wrongdoings within the Burnside council. At that stage, a draft report had been released by Mr Ken MacPherson and the investigation had been going for two years, at a cost to taxpayers of $1.3 million. This move was controversial and caused six councillors to take action in the Supreme Court to have the draft report suppressed, a move which was successful.
At the time, Mr MacPherson indicated that it would be in the public interest to have the report completed and a parliamentary committee was established to look into the former minister's decision to scrap the report. On Friday 7 June this year, it was revealed that the CEO of Burnside council was unexpectedly dismissed, effective immediately, amongst allegations of derogatory comments he made and performance issues. Mr Deb was the CEO at the time of the investigation and during the period the investigation related to. My questions to the minister are:
1. Can the minister advise if the suppression order on the draft report still stands?
2. If not, what is the government's position on releasing the MacPherson report into the Burnside council that was commissioned in 2014?
3. If the suppression order does not still stand, will the government consider releasing the report in light of the recent sudden dismissal of Mr Paul Deb, formerly the CEO of Burnside council?
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for his question in relation to Burnside council. I think members would be aware we have had a range of questions since 2011, I think the honourable member referred to, so that is eight years or more. It has been an ongoing issue, but it would be a pleasure to take those questions and refer them to my colleague the minister for transport, planning and infrastructure in another place, the Hon. Stephan Knoll.
4 July 2019
The Hon David Ridgway MLC:
"The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government has provided the following advice:
Mr MacPherson's provisional draft report (the Report) concerning the City of Burnside remains the subject of a suppression order made by a judge of the Supreme Court. The suppression order forbids the publication of any part of the report, or any account or report of the Report."