Councillor of the City of Ipswich, Wayne Wendt addressing media at a press conference with regard to taking the state government to court.
Councillor of the City of Ipswich, Wayne Wendt addressing media at a press conference with regard to taking the state government to court. Cordell Richardson

ONE YEAR LATER: 'Disillusion still haunting community'

POSITIVITY rings through Ipswich City Council chambers while former councillors fear party politics and community unrest, one year on from the sacking of the city's elected officials.

Interim administrator Greg Chemello took the reins of a broken and battered council and now believes the community has realised "life goes on".

"Within the council and within the broader community, things are very different to what they were a year ago," he said.

READ MORE: See the timeline of Ipswich City Council's dismissal

"Within the council there's a much higher degree of confidence and confidence in the capabilities of council. There is confidence things will be better in the future.

"(Council employees) can see the reformed policies, procedures and governance that we're putting in place and they're part of that reform process."

Mr Chemello admitted some elements of disillusion still haunted the community.

"We turned the corner some months ago. In the very early months, we were talking to very disillusioned and very angry community members," he said.

 

Stirling Hinchliffe MP and Greg Chemello.
Stirling Hinchliffe MP and Greg Chemello. Cordell Richardson

"Some were upset I was there, some were upset about what happened in the past, looking back at it all with bewildering anger.

"But the stronger elements of the community are looking forward with that pride - the pride of Ipswich."

Former division nine councillor Sheila Ireland said she was disappointed all councillors were tarred with the same brush when the council was dissolved.

"I'm still disappointed in the action the State Government took against councillors with no charges against them... I think it's pretty cruel action," she said.

Ms Ireland now spends time with her family and travelling. While her division no longer exists as it was, she hasn't ruled out running again.

"I'm keeping my options open - never say never - I'm not out there starting to do anything," she said.

Ms Ireland did not want to comment on how the administration was running the council in the absence of councillors.

"They've obviously tightened a lot of rules which is fine, which every organisation does with a change of management," she said.

Mayoral hopeful and former division seven councillor David Martin prides himself on being the only member of the former council to apologise for the grief it caused the community.

 

Ipswich councillor David Martin.
Ipswich councillor David Martin. Hayden Johnson

"I apologised on behalf of the council. By virtue of the fact, we've had a few trials, eight people have gone to jail (former mayor) Andrew (Antoniolli) was also found guilty and no one's actually said they're sorry," he said.

"The people of Ipswich are owed an apology.

"I've apologised, I've listened, I've got a bit of vision for the city."

"We need vision for the city, to unite the city and see us move forward. Things are hurting, certainly the business sector in (the CBD) needs some life, it's the heart of the city and I want to see our river restored.

He said the feedback towards his burgeoning campaign has been "overwhelmingly positive" and the people he spoke to "are optmistic about the future".

Labor affiliated former division five councillor Wayne Wendt only spoke to the QT to say he had no comment.

Outspoken former division 10 councillor David Pahlke has spent the past year learning about being a self-funded retireee, enjoying life with family and friends and travelling.

Mr Pahlke has kept tight-lipped about his intentions to run in the reformed divisions and is waiting upon the final QIRC decision and final boundaries, as well as community support considerations.

He said he will decide in September-October.

While some community groups and former councillors have had their gripes with the administration, Mr Pahlke congratulated Mr Chemello on his efforts. But said Mr Chemello did not understand the community.

"Like all new administrators or CEOs they wish to show the 'winds of change' and to be seen putting their thumbprint on things - which he has done," he said.

"My personal view is he may be a good administrator but he does not know my community."

"I still attend many community meetings in Pine Mountain, Marburg, Willowbank and Rosewood and many are not happy. They have told me so and told him also."

 

Councillor David Pahlke reflects on his sacking.
Councillor David Pahlke reflects on his sacking. Cordell Richardson

Mr Pahlke also fears party politics invadng the to-be reformed council will sour the March 2020 elections as well.

"I said 12 months ago that the Labor Party wanted control back of Ipswich City Council and to watch for the party affiliated candidates come out of the woodwork and it has started," he said.

"It's almost impossible for little community independents to win because the divisions are the size of state government seats.

Mr Pahlke also speculated if candidates would use party resources to campaign.

The remaining six councillors did not answer or respond to the QT's questions.



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