For many months now, we have sought to obtain a copy of the structural engineering report commissioned by council in relation the Batemans Bay Swimming Complex. This audit report is referred to in Otium’s Aquatic Strategy. Otium was the consultant company from Queensland that council engaged to draw up the very unpopular concept plan for the Mackay Park Precinct redevelopment, to whom we have so far paid the tidy sum of approximately $155,000 (unsure whether this includes air fares, accommodation, meals etc).
Council continues to refuse us access to this audit report on the grounds that they claim it is ‘commercial in confidence’.
Council paid for this audit out of ratepayers money. The subject site is a public facility. To claim ‘confidentiality’ is an insult to the people of this Shire. Most likely they are confused by the requirements of the tendering guidelines as set down by the Office of Local Government that states: Councils must not disclose tender information received from tenderers that is intellectual property, proprietary, commercial-in-confidence or otherwise confidential, without their prior consent. In addition, council staff or councillors must not disclose information regarding the specific details of a tendering process, including a recommendation of the tender evaluation or assessment panel before the outcome of the tender has been determined.
At no time has there been any request regarding the tendering for this engineering evalution of the pool. It has been specifically requested each time that the information sought is that of the asset assessment of the pool and its accoutrements knowing that the report would provide comment on condition, faults, remaining life and possible guidance on actions required to keep the pool serviceable. For Council to claim that such knowledge is Commercial in Confidence is a farce. Something is terribly wrong with this council and its continual withholding of public information, forcing the public to lodge a GIPA request for the release of information that should be publicly available. It is understood that this report was made available to all councillors sometime last year. Council have now been formally asked to advise who determined the engineers assessment as Commercial in Confidence and does Council have legal advice to that effect? If so, they have been asked to provide copy of the legal advice advising council that this report is ‘commercial in confidence’ and the reasons therefor. In the meantime another request has been lodged for a redacted copy of the report.
The question of the structural audit report and other relevant matters will be raised at our public meeting @ 5.30pm at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club. Come along and have your say.
Fight for Batemans Bay’s 50m Pool Name and address supplied