Dr Christopher Kendall was appointed in May by the Department of Local Government to conduct the inquiry into the City of Canning, with a final report expected in 12 months.
The inquiry panel has been formed to assess the City’s governance issues as outlined in a Department of Local Government report. The report, based on an eight-month inquiry into the City, found a failure to provide a good local government and provide strong accountability to ratepayers by the council and individual elected members.
Dr Kendall provided an opening statement outlining the purpose of the inquiry, the processes he will adopt, and the law and statutory principles relevant to a public inquiry.
It was made clear in the first public hearing that the inquiry would not serve as a criminal trial.
‘In this inquiry, I will seek to gather essential evidence, which will determine whether poor decisions had been made by the council,’ Dr Kendall said.
‘It is entirely appropriate and desirable that as part of the administration of justice, this inquiry be open to the public.’
Dr Kendall told the hearing that 17 witnesses had been summonsed to provide evidence to the inquiry.
This included suspended mayor Joe Delle Donne and suspended council members.
The hearing was held at the City of Canning’s council chambers.
More hearings are scheduled to be held at the Central Law Courts in Perth in September.
Dates for these hearings are not yet available.