Friday, March 24, 2006

Corrupt Practices

Missing report: Council Costs behind closed doors

Missing: Report on the of costs of in Bound Missions. Costs associated with Council overseas invitations.

The Melbourne City Council passed a motion back in December requiring the disclosure of costs for Council funded inbound missions. Request for this information was moved by Cr Snedden and the report was due to be made available in March.

Green Cr Fraser Brindley in an attempt to avoid public disclosure and accountability, moved to refer the report to an illegal meeting of Council behind closed doors.

Cr Brindley Fraser replied to our concern about the need to ensure open and transparency disclosure of public expenses. In his reply Cr Fraser gave an undertaking that the report would be made public? Where is it? It was not tabled at the March Finance Committee meeting.

Was it presented and discussed at the Council's secret Information session meetings?

The Local Government act requires that meetings of Council be held in open session and documents made available for public scrutiny.

The City Council to date has failed to respond or reply to out requests for the disclosure of Council's expenditure including the cost of the Lord Mayors and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousines, the cost of In-house catering (including the free supply of free booze to Councillors and senior Staff) and the inclusion of a sequential ID number on the Councils Overseas and interstate travel register so as to facilitate the proper audit and probity of the register content limiting the opportunity for fraud, modification, omission and misuse.

Previous inspection of the Council's Travel register resulted in the identification of thousands of missing dollars from published expense statements, as the Council staff tried to avoid accountability and public disclosure of Staff and Councillor expenses. The City Council continues to be implicated in a conspiracy of silence and aviodance.

The failure to publish the report as requested by Cr Snedden is just another example of the extent that the Council administration is prepared to go to to avoid open and transparent governance leaving it open to misuse and abuse and possible corruption.

The report detailing the full cost of in-bound missions Must be published without delay.

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