Shellharbour merger court case: government’s $65k bill

Kiara Fitzgerald (left), Sienna Owers and Emily Owers at Reddall Reserve for Shellharbour's community rally against the proposed council merger in January. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Kiara Fitzgerald (left), Sienna Owers and Emily Owers at Reddall Reserve for Shellharbour's community rally against the proposed council merger in January. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Shellharbour City Council’s failed court challenge will see it fork out about $65,000 to cover the NSW government’s legal bill.

Tuesday's Land and Environment Court decision to throw out the council’s case against a merger with neighbouring Wollongong came with an order that the council pay the government’s legal bill.  

The Mercury understands the costs sought by the government amount to $65,000.

A spokesman for the Local Government Minister, Paul Toole, said it will seek the compensation. 

“The government has not waived its right to recover costs from any council that has been ordered to pay costs by the courts,” he said.

Shellharbour Council wouldn’t reveal the cost of its legal fight to overturn the decision, when asked by the Mercury this week, only saying the costs to date were “well within council’s current annual budget”.

The council has $250,000 in its 2016/17 budget for legal expenses, with additional “contingency funding” of more than $440,000 set aside for extra legal costs. 

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