Fraser Coast Regional Council - Mayor Chris Loft.
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Mayor Chris Loft. Alistair Brightman

Govt appointee to prosecute complaints against councillors

THE State Government will appoint an independent assessor to review and potentially prosecute all complaints against councillors in a move to continue the reform of local government.

It comes after the Fraser Coast Regional Council updated their councillor complaints register earlier this week, revealing a number of new instances of inapropriate conduct or misconduct.

The current register lists Mayor Chris Loft on seven charges, Cr Darren Everard on three, Cr Rolf Light on five, Cr Denis Chapman on two, Cr Stuart Taylor on one and former councillor David Dalgleish on one.

A council spokesman said the register only records the outcomes of complaints as determinations are made.

"Current investigations are not required to be placed on the register," the spokesman said.

If appointed, the assessor would be able to receive all complaints submitted to the Department of Local Government, then investigate and if necessary prosecute complaints.

Minister for Local Government Mark Furner, who tabled the report at a Budgets Estimates Hearing last night, said the proposed changes were aimed at ensuring public confidence in the councillor complaints system.

"Under the model identified, the independent assessor will also be able to dismiss or prosecute frivolous, vexatious or out-of-time complaints," Mr Furner said.

"The proposed changes are part of a suite of measures that are addressing integrity and accountability issues in local government in Queensland.

"As elected representatives, councillors and mayors should be held to the highest possible standards of ethical and legal behaviour."

The state government will consult with councils on the new laws over the coming months.



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