Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Palmerston Council Dismissed – Restoring Trust in Our Communities

The Minister for Housing and Community Development Gerry McCarthy today announced the dismissal of the City of Palmerston Council.

Mr McCarthy said the Palmerston Council, which has been suspended since June 2017, was subjected to an investigation following concerns of poor governance.

“Trust in government is pivotal and is the foundation for strengthening the communities we live in,” Mr McCarthy said.

“An investigation into Palmerston Council identified a number of shortcomings including poor financial processes, non-compliance with legislation and council policies, poor community consultation and internal conflict.”

Key events outlined in the report include:

·         The Palmerston Council signing a $13.5 million dollar contract to develop a multistorey carpark without the funds to pay for it and with no ‘subject to finance’ clause. The investigation found that this development was also without proper planning, risk assessment or community consultation.

·         The absence of Aldermen and the Chief Executive Officer from crucial council meetings.

·         The reclassifying of a number of staff positions, without an independent evaluation of roles and responsibilities and without being advertised.

“All Alderman were given the right of reply to the report and it was clear, through those responses, that individuals had different perspectives on events,” Mr McCarthy said.

“However, under the Local Government Act, all elected members share a collective responsibility for overseeing the actions and operation of council. 

“As a whole, they must make informed and responsible decisions in the best interest of their constituency. Therefore, I have acted on the investigators recommendation to dismiss the City of Palmerston Council.  

“When we came to Government, we made a commitment to restore community trust in our institutions after four years of CLP chaos and dysfunction. We are delivering on that.

“The residents of Palmerston will now have the opportunity to elect a council that they can have confidence in. One that will work together and to a professional standard to achieve the best results for their community.”

 Elections for the new City of Palmerston Council will be held on 17 March 2018.

 City of Palmerston Council Investigator’s Report attached. 

Media Contact - Hannah Farmer - 0428 497 154

Investigators report

Report redactions