Edward Mandla
June Trigeneration Reports Incorrectly Classified as Confidential

Published On: 28/07/2014

If there is one takeaway for anyone attending tonightís Council meeting, that is, the City has lost its compass when it comes to transparency.

The City of Sydney is now to Governance what James Dean was to road safety.

We no longer know what it means to be accountable or transparent. Our default position is to suppress rather than to be Open as the Local Government Act requires.

Iím going to try and help us make amends by requesting release of information, which as a matter of public interest demands its release.

I guess, Iím testing to see if the Lord Mayor and her Councillors are up to it.

Last month, under the now all too familiar section 10A(2)(d) of the Local Government Act, the Lord Mayor sought to suppress two consultants report into trigeneration.

Without reference to the Director Generals Guidelines and without a required public interest debate, it was incorrectly declared confidential.

The basis for doing so is not just spurious, itís comical and thatís the respect given to spending tens of millions of ratepayer dollars.

The reports should be released now, as they werenít correctly classified confidential, as we failed to follow the procedural requirements of Section 10.

All one can say is that dealing with this now, is better late than never.

The AECOM report should be released for one reason alone, the Ratepayers of this city paid for it, and deserve to see what they paid for.

I have proposed the only remotely commercial data to be redacted which are a few pages of the total.

But the greatest reason for public release and I cannot see how we ever considered it possible to suppress it, is the emissions data at the end.

Weíre right next door to a school, and during business hours we are proposing to release Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and Sulphur Dioxide at levels that may exceed EPA requirements.

To suggest that is nobodyís business but our own is bizarre.

As an organisation we require development applicants to state their environmental effect.

That we donít do so ourselves in the first instance, is reckless.

The rest of the AECOM report is largely material that a school pupil may find in a public library.

I donít think Ratepayers would be amused if they discovered we have declared the operation of a reciprocating engine at page 7 a trade secret, considering most cars have been using them for over 100 years.

As for the KPMG report, it has been stamped draft numerous times.

Itís the oldest trick in the book and you fell for it.

The report has been issued in draft so it has never really been issued, freeing the issuer of legal responsibility and giving plausible deniability to whoever might need it.

Thatís crafty, but we shouldnít be in the business of being clever and out foxing an inquiring public, we should be in the business of being open and wise.

Edward Mandla
July 2014

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