News: Minister for Local Government Media Announcement

Minister for Local Government Chansey Paech’s announcement regarding the investigation into the Barkly Regional Council. Please follow the link within the media announcement for further information regarding the Investigator's report and recommendations.

Posted: Thursday, 20 June 2024

Barkly Regional Council dismissed from office

20 June 2024

Members of the Barkly Regional Council have today been dismissed from office and a general election for a new Council will be held on 2 November 2024.

Minister for Local Government Chansey Paech placed the Barkly Regional Council under official management in October last year, and suspended all members due to serious deficiencies in operations that affected municipal and essential services across the region.

An official manager was appointed to hold the powers of the elected members, while an independent investigator examined the affairs of the Council.

Following careful consideration of Investigator Ruth Morley's final report, and submissions from suspended members and affected parties, Minister Paech has formed the view that all findings need to be addressed, and recommendations implemented. These will be actioned by the Official Manager and the CEO until the new Council is established.

The affairs of the Council will continue to be managed by the Official Manager until the declaration of election results.

Findings from the Investigator’s Report identified the following serious deficiencies:

  •  Council members did not comprehend their roles regarding strategic matters.
  • Members did not seek necessary financial information for decision-making.
  • Council did not appropriately manage the CEO.
  • Conflicts of interest were not properly managed.
  • Audit and Risk Committee meetings were neglected.
  • Matters were regularly considered in confidential meetings that were not consistent with the Act.
  • Poorly conducted council meetings with conflicts between council members.
  • Council members had minimal involvement in or understanding of strategic planning.
  • A lack of communication with the community about Council decisions and projects.
  • Local authorities were not properly administered, supported, or engaged with by Council.

The Barkly Regional Council serves around 8000 constituents spanning approximately 325,000 square kilometres from Newcastle Waters in the north to Tara in the south.

The Investigator’s Report and a summary are available here.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Chansey Paech:

“Dismissing the suspended council members was not a decision I took lightly, however ensuring the effective operation of the Barkly Regional Council is of the utmost importance to community members from across the region.

“Many of the former elected members joined the Council to make a difference for the communities in the Barkly region. This decision is not a judgement of the character of these individuals, rather on the failings of the council as a whole to meet the obligations of their role.

“Since the councillors were suspended, the Official Manager and Council CEOs have led significant improvements, and the community can now look forward to the benefits of an effective and well-governed Council.”

Media Contact: Jasmin Afianos - 0419 361 127

Northern Territory Government