Kiama will be keeping close tabs on a Sydney-based council’s potential legal challenge to a proposed merger.
At last Tuesday night’s meeting, Kiama council resolved that the general manager consider and report on the possibility of council being a part of the action proposed by Woollahra Municipal Council.
Woollahra council, which vocally opposes the state government's council merger plan, recently issued a legal ultimatum to cease the plans to merge it with Waverley and Randwick, or face court action.
Woollahra is planning to challenge its proposed merger on the basis that the state government has used the wrong part of the Local Government Act to host inquiries into forced amalgamations.
Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler recently met with the Mayor of Woollahra Toni Zeltzer, Kathy Sajowitz (Mayor of Oberon) and Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba.
“The case is interesting, and would have significance for NSW local government if it successful,” Cr Petschler wrote in his Mayoral Minute.
“At this stage, councils are not being requested to join in a class action, but it was suggested that, if interested, council should seek some preliminary legal advice on the substantive issues once we have them to hand.”
A Woollahra council spokesperson said that their councillors were briefed by lawyers, Speed and Stracey, about the legal proceedings on Monday. “There was unanimous support for the legal challenge to proceed,” the spokesperson said on Tuesday.
“The government has until 5pm today to respond to our most recent letter. If we are not satisfied with their response we will take advice from our lawyers about the next steps.”
Cr Petschler noted that Woollahra was an “individual case based on the exact wording that they’ve received, and if ours varies in any way to that… It would mean we’d have to mount a second case”.“Let’s let Woollahra run it; if we can register as an interested party, we’ll do so,” he said.