Councils to pursue legal action over $252 million slush fund

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Inner West Council has tonight resolved to pursue legal action against the NSW Government over their maladministration of the Stronger Communities Fund.

Inner West Council has joined with Canterbury Bankstown to engage Bret Walker SC and will now jointly write to all Councils who were improperly excluded from applying for grants asking them to join the action.

“We will be writing to the more than twenty other Councils that were eligible but were excluded by the NSW Government, for blatantly partisan reasons, seeking their support to collectively pursue the matter in court,” said Mayor Byrne.

“Through highly improper methods, ninety-five per cent of the funds in the program went to Liberal and National Party electorates. The Inner West Council did not receive a cent and was cheated out of $24 million, which would have paid for local infrastructure upgrades.

“Communities right across the state have missed out on vital money for local infrastructure simply because they were not in areas held by members of the NSW Government.

“The Stronger Communities fund was supposedly established to help with infrastructure needs in merged Council areas. Not only did Inner West and Canterbury-Bankstown (two of the largest merged Councils) not receive a cent from the fund, the NSW Office of Local Government actually kept secret from us that the fund existed at all - we weren't even allowed to apply,” said Mayor Byrne.

Mr Walker will provide Inner West Council and Canterbury Bankstown Council with formal legal advice in writing over coming weeks regarding the illegality of the Stronger Communities Fund.

For media enquiries, contact Bill Hawker, Mayoral Media Officer, 9392 5685 or       

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Page last updated: 02 Dec 2020