A long awaited investigation conducted by the office of the Victorian Ombudsman into dealings of the Brimbank City Council is close to finishing, according to State Opposition in Victoria.
The investigation investigating allegations of corruption and misconduct was prompted by Shadow Minister for Local Government, Jeanette Powel. It is alleged that the investigation is looking into alleged threats, bribery, intimidation, the misuse of council funds, and mismanagement.
“A senior investigator from the State Ombudsman phoned me on Monday [last week] and advised me directly that the report into Brimbank Council is in its final stages,” Jeanette Powell said.
“The Victorian government has been aware of the problems at Brimbank for a long time but sat on its hands and did nothing. Government inaction allowed this type of behaviour to continue to escalate unchecked,” she stressed. According to a source close to the investigation, who wished to remain anonymous, “the Ombudsman’s findings will be damning for certain people involved.”
Six former Brimbank councillors did not nominate at the last local government elections in November 2008 and the two former councillors who did nominate were not re-elected. “If any of those former councillors are found to have breached the local government act whilst in office they can be still charged under the local government act,” noted Mrs Powell.
“I look forward to the report from the Victorian Ombudsman and hope that the government will act immediately on any recommendations or findings,” she added.
The Ombudsman’s final report is due to be submitted to State Parliament for consideration. However it is not likely be discussed by Victorian MPs before the next sitting of the House on March 11.