www.parliament.qld.gov.au

Number of lobbyists in Queensland has doubled in three years

THE ranks of Queensland's secretive lobby industry have more than doubled in the past three years, but up to 80% of those involved in lobbying activity may still fly under the radar.

Unprecedented growth in the state's lobby industry has been revealed in state Integrity Commissioner Dr David Solomon's annual report to parliament.

Tabled in parliament late on Friday, the report showed the number of registered lobbyists grew from 188 in January 2010 to 379 in June this year.

It also revealed the number of firms involved in lobbying government officials ballooned from 65 registered companies in 2010 to more than 150 in June.

But Dr Solomon, who recommended a review of the state's Integrity Act, wrote he believed the numbers only captured a small proportion of lobbying in Queensland.

He wrote the registration of lobbyists should be extended to "cover many of the other people who lobby government".

"Based on a comparison with the registration scheme in Canada, I have estimated that the current Queensland scheme only covers about 20% of the people who actually lobby government," he wrote.

"The Parliamentary Committee agreed that the definition of lobbyists should be extended to cover many of those lobbyists."

Dr Solomon also wrote lobbyists using the proper channels to talk to officials and ministers were themselves concerned about those avoiding registration.

"They point out (as I have on many occasions) that perhaps 80% of all lobbying is done by people who are not required by the Integrity Act to register as lobbyists," he wrote.

Dr Solomon's report also provided a rare insight into the numbers of companies seeking to influence government policy through lobbyists.

The report also revealed the clients of lobby firms boomed from 695 companies in 2010 to more than 2800 by mid-2011, growing to 2,835 by June this year.

Lobbyist numbers:

  • 65 companies and 188 individual lobbyists in January, 2010
  • 159 companies and 379 individual lobbyists in June, 2013
  • 695 clients registered in January, 2010
  • 2,835 clients registered in June, 2013
  • 80% of likely lobbyists not registered

Source: Integrity Commissioner annual report, 2012-13.



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