Queensland Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe
Queensland Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe

New powers will see five councilors automatically suspended

UPDATE 6PM: Five councilors will now be automatically suspended once new stand down powers come into effect after the sixth was disqualified for failing to attend enough meetings to continue being a councillor.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe told State Parliament about the change in number today during final debate on the new laws.

He said he believed the remaining five were aware they would soon be stood aside on full pay as they fight various charges levelled at them.

"I am pretty confident that the subject councilors are aware," he said.

But Mr Hinchliffe said he would be writing to every Queensland mayor and councilor advising them of their obligations to come forward if they have been charged with a serious offence once the new powers are in force.

Laws giving the local government minister the power to sack and suspend councils, councillors and mayors charged with corruption or integrity offences passed this afternoon, as did laws banning property developer donations to councils.

Mr Hinchliffe said "good government has been lacking at some of Queensland's biggest councils".

"Our reforms are not designed to catch those who make genuine mistakes, but to deal with the tiny minority not living up to community expectations," he said.

The Bill is yet to come into effect. It is expected to be given ascent by the governor next week.

 

EARLIER

THE Queensland Government may move to sack Ipswich City Council under its new "public interest" provision once the laws are passed by State Parliament later today.

The Government had issued the council with a show-cause notice under the current Local Government Act earlier this month, after committing to bringing in administrators at the council amid widening corruption allegations.

But Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said at the time he needed to broaden the Act to make it easier to sack a council when it was in the community interest to do so.

He would not be drawn on whether he would use the new power to deal with Ipswich City Council yesterday when quizzed during debate on the new sacking and suspension powers and what it will mean for the current show-cause notice.

The possibility has not been ruled out, however.

" ... Because there are no laws in place yet in relation to the processes that are before the House at the moment, I am not in a position to be projecting how a minister might act once those laws are available to them in those particular circumstances ... in relation to Ipswich," he told the House.

The new powers need to be passed and then assented to by the Governor before they can be used.

Mr Hinchliffe revealed yesterday that he believed six councillors would also be automatically suspended once the laws come into force.



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