The Beagle Editor, From what we read in The Beagle there are many Eurobodalla voicing a disquiet at what appears to be a reluctance of their Council to provide information, not only to its ratepayers and residents but also to its councillors. Readers in the Beag Valley Shire might be interested in our latest media release advising of a Complaint to Information & Privacy Commission (IPC) being lodged. The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association Inc (BVSRRA) recently initiated a formal complaint with the NSW Information & Privacy Commission (IPC), requesting it to:
undertake an investigation into the behaviour of Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) in respect of its performance & decisions about public access to information; &
initiate a public inquiry to identify & respond to the efforts of public officials across the public sector in NSW to undermine & frustrate the objectives of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 No 52.
The BVSRRA contends that senior council officials, including the general manager & some elected public officials, have made a concerted effort over the past five years to deny the association & the community of the Bega Valley Shire access to information that it rightfully believes should be readily accessible & in doing so, have wrongfully undermined the objectives of the GIPA Act, while denying the association its statutory rights under the Act.
The BVSRRA’s decision to initiate a complaint to the IPC follows the latest dishonest attempt by BVSC to publicly discredit & denigrate the association & its activities in the eyes of the community.
The BVSRRA is also deeply concerned over public remarks about the association attributed to Cr Bain, as well as her alleged intention to initiate action by BVSC to effectively discriminate against the association by placing constraints on BVSC’s management of its inquiries.
For the record, prior to deciding to initiate its complaint with the IPC, the BVSRRA attempted to engage with Cr Bain on the matter but its approach was ignored.
Finally, the BVSRRA believes that the problems & difficulties that it has experienced & continues to experience with BVSC are endemic in local government areas across NSW & it therefore calls-on residents, ratepayers & other community organisations similarly concerned about the behaviour of some public officials in local government to also make representations to the IPC.
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association