THE Government acted improperly in approving a landfill and a golf course in country parks, the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints has concluded, in another blow to the Government's handling of country parks. Ombudsman Arthur Garcia upheld complaints from Friends of the Earth that the public was not properly consulted about the Shalotung golf course and Clear Water Bay Country Park landfill, and that the wrong sections of the Country Parks Ordinance were usedto approve them. The High Court similarly decided two years ago that the Government used the wrong section to approve the Shalotung project, which resulted in it being sent back to the drawing board. Friends of the Earth, which brought that court case, filed a complaint with Mr Garcia in March after it appeared the mistake was repeated when a landfill was allowed to extend 18 hectares into Clearwater Bay Country Park. The group's chairman, Mary Riley, was pleased with the report and said it was ''very embarrassing'' for the departments involved - the Agriculture and Fisheries Department, Environmental Protection Department, Lands Department and Planning, Environment and Lands Branch. Mr Garcia's report comes down heavily in favour of more public consultation over country park development. He said it was not enough to consult just the district boards, rural committees and Country Parks Board, as they might have vested interests. The problem was compounded in the case of the landfill, which the Government pressed ahead with in 1992, because of the urgent need for waste disposal facilities. Mr Garcia said the controversy over Shalotung should have alerted the Government that wider consultation was desired. He criticised the administration for claiming the Country Parks Ordinance did not apply to it. ''In my view, such draconian powers being wielded by the bureaucracy would signal a retrograde step in the development of an open and transparent administration,'' he said. But he could not uphold Friends of the Earth's complaint about the administration's claim of immunity, saying it was up to the courts to decide this. He made eight recommendations including public consultation wherever possible, a regular review of procedures for applying for development in country parks and a speedier review of the Country Parks Ordinance, for which there is no due date. He also recommended that areas of conservation value be identified to help decision-making, proper management of an environmental impact assessment of the Shalotung proposal, and a full explanation of any decision on Shalotung. A government spokesman said the administration agreed with the spirit of these recommendations. It was, however, still considering the last two - that environmental assessments and formal public consultations be required for any change to the park boundaries, and that approval-in-principle should only be released after all objections have been considered. Mr Garcia concluded: ''There were procedural impropriety and poor decision-making on the part of the administration, but these were due to a belief it was acting in the interests of the public rather than any deliberate intention to act in bad faith or for any ulterior motive.'' Friends of the Earth's director, Mei Ng Fong Siu-mei, said the Government had since shown more willingness to consult the public on country parks, most recently about plans to extend a quarry into Shek O Country Park.