ESSENTIAL: Local Goverment Assocation of Queensland chief exectuive officer Greg Hallam says transparency is important.
ESSENTIAL: Local Goverment Assocation of Queensland chief exectuive officer Greg Hallam says transparency is important. contributed

LGAQ warns against 'overreaction' amid council sacking

A POWERFUL private business that exists to support councils says it will be vigilant to ensure there isn't an "overreaction" to the cloud of corruption claims surrounding several local governments.

Head of the Local Government Association of Queensland Greg Hallam says his organisation will "draw a line and hold it".

His comments come as Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe prepares to sack the embattled Ipswich City Council amid a corruption investigation.

So far, 15 people associated with Ipswich council have been charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The LGAQ is a private business that provides advocacy, support and business opportunities to local governments across Queensland.

In a newsletter sent out on Friday, CEO Mr Hallam told members (Queensland councils) the LGAQ was offering "every assistance" to Ipswich councillors.

"We feel greatly for those Ipswich City Council elected members who have not been the subject of an adverse finding or been charged with an offence and are offering them every assistance," Mr Hallam said, in the newsletter.

The LGAQ has previously argued against the establishment of an independent body to oversee local governments in the wake of Operation Belcarra which exposed widespread issues with councils across Queensland.

"At its heart, the core responsibility of the LGAQ is to protect and promote the interests of its 77 members," the newsletter states.

"We are not an arm of State Government nor a ratepayer association. Councils are our sole concern.

 

 

"That is why, on an in-principal basis, your Association could not support the seven-page Bill currently before the Queensland Parliament to dismiss the Ipswich City Council and appoint an administrator until the March 2020 quadrennial council elections."

"We appreciate there are a myriad of views amongst our members on this. 

"We are also not blind to the serious issues surrounding that Council. However, you either do or don't support due process and natural justice and the LGAQ falls on the side of having your day in court.

"That said, a six-shooter beats a full house and the will of the Parliament will prevail in this matter.

Councils at the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Logan were under the microscope during Operation Belcarra.

A criminal investigation spanning several councils is ongoing.

Logan mayor Luke Smith is facing charges of perjury and official corruption.

Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft was sacked by Minister Hinchliffe after being charged with two counts of misconduct in relation to public office and one of computer hacking.

In Ipswich, two CEOs and two mayors are among the 15 charged by the state's corruption watchdog.

All deny wrongdoing and intend to fight the charges.



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