Planning inquiry findings on way

A NSW GOVERNMENT inquiry into the planning operations of Tweed Shire Council has all but been wrapped up, with a report on its findings due within weeks.

But senior council staff, who have already undergone a major shake-up following the sacking of elected councillors and the appointment of three administrators, aren't expecting any stunning changes to be recommended.

Last week the administrators moved to scrap plans to almalgamate four departmental divisions, including the planning section, into two divisions and have already created a planning committee to oversee planning matters.

The inquiry into the planning department was ordered by the state government near- ly four months ago.

It followed a recommendation of Prof. Maurice Daly, who headed up the public commission of inquiry into the overall conduct of the council and councillors, starting late last year.

The recommendation was made even before Prof. Daly handed down his later report which resulted in the appointment of administrators.

When NSW Planning Minister Craig Knowles announced the separate planning inquiry, headed by the deputy director general of the Department of Local Government, Ross Woodward, he warned it could lead to the appointment of a planning administrator.

That now seems unlikely.

Since the announcement in late March, Mr Woodward's boss, the department's director general Garry Payne, has been appointed one of the council's three administrators.

Mr Woodward confirmed his investigation had concluded and his report had been written but he was waiting for Local Government Minister Tony Kelly to return from holidays before presenting it to him in about two weeks.

He said events had superceded his inquiry to "a large degree" but the report would assist the council's administrators with future activities.

"It will have some recommendations in it about the future directions of the council," he said.

Council general manager Dr John Griffin said staff had been waiting for the release of Mr Woodward's report.

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