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Pisasale to decide his future after Christmas break

WHAT'S YOUR STORY: Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been grilled by journalists from throughout Australia over the past few months.
WHAT'S YOUR STORY: Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been grilled by journalists from throughout Australia over the past few months. Sarah Harvey

IPSWICH mayor Paul Pisasale will decide after his Christmas break whether he will contest the next mayoral election in 2016.

But Cr Pisasale, whose operation of several community funds is under investigation by Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission, has given the strongest indication yet that he intends to run again and contest a fourth term.

Cr Pisasale, now in his 22nd year in politics and 10th as mayor, told the QT the speculation surrounding the CCC investigation had taken its toll on him.

But he said his plan to ensure Ipswich became the leading regional centre in Queensland remained unfinished business.

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"The last three months have been a tough time for me and my family, and my friends," he said.

"There have been times in the last two months where I have wondered whether it is all worthwhile.

"But I am going to wait until the inquiry has finished and have a look at what I want to achieve in the city.

"I took the city on a journey with the CBD, and you need a certain skill set to finish that. I believe I have those skills."

Cr Pisasale said a definitive decision on his future was still four months away.

"Over Christmas I need to recharge my batteries," he said.

"I am tired. I can feel it.

"I woke up this morning and I didn't have the usual Paul Pisasale oomph.

"I haven't had a holiday in eight years.

"I need an exit strategy, so if I decide not to run again I need to make up my mind pretty quickly. After Christmas I need to sit down and make sure that I can give the city 100%.

"There is no bigger honour than to be mayor of this city.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been grilled by journalists from throughout Australia over the past few months.
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been grilled by journalists from throughout Australia over the past few months. Sarah Harvey

"And there is no better honour than for someone to give you a vote and feel that you cherish that vote.

"I only went in (to politics) because I wanted to make a difference."

Cr Pisasale said his first task as mayor was to "restore pride in the city".

"We have done that," he said.

"The second was having the people work together, and we achieved that during the floods and with the chamber of commerce and council now all working together.

"Now I want to make Ipswich the strongest regional centre in the country."

That involves transforming the retail section of the CBD, where the council has big plans.

"We need to get the city firing. In the mall area it is a little bit dead," Cr Pisasale conceded.

"But there is no doubt in my mind that the city is transforming."

Cr Pisasale said he had received hundreds of calls of support during the past three months.

"It is the community that gives me strength," he said.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been grilled by journalists from throughout Australia over the past few months.
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been grilled by journalists from throughout Australia over the past few months. Sarah Harvey

"I can say that 20 years of working for the community is not going to be destroyed by a couple of egotistical people that have made some false allegations that are costing this city and the state a lot of money.

"I can assure the people of Ipswich that anything I have done is in the best interest of the city and its people."

Cr Pisasale said that "for the sake of the city" he hoped the CCC handed down its findings shortly.

The QT has spoken to three high-powered lawyers about the case and their view was that, based on the evidence on the public record so far, Cr Pisasale had done nothing illegal.

They did say the way he had set up the funds could have been smarter, particularly with regard to appointing close staff to him on the executive of those funds.

Cr Pisasale told the QT that "everything has been done professionally" and that adjustments to the set-up of Forward Ipswich had been made.

He insisted the Mayor's Community Fund was the "best thing that has happened to Ipswich".

"Working for the community is not a conflict of interest," he said.

Topics:  council elections, editors picks, mayoral election, mayor paul pisasale



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