Qld Councils Face Sack Under Proposed Laws

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Corrupt Queensland councils, councillors and mayors will face immediate dismissal by the state government under laws introduced to parliament on Tuesday.

Amendments that will also allow Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe to automatically sack or suspend elected council officials charged with corruption or integrity offences are expected to pass this week.

It comes just two weeks after a second mayor of Ipswich was charged with corruption offences after an investigation into the council which has also netted two CEOs.

"The community expects and deserves to have confidence in the integrity of their elected officials," Mr Hinchliffe told parliament on Tuesday.

"Our record on integrity, transparency and accountability is evident.

"We have never shied away from our commitment to ensure elected officials are held accountable."

The legislation is among a raft of reforms proposed by the state government in response to revelations of misconduct and corruption within Ipswich and other Queensland councils.

Those measures include a code of conduct for councillors that would bring them into line with MPs and government staffers and a councillor conduct tribunal to hear and determine alleged misconduct.

It follows an ongoing Corruption and Crime Commission probe of council officials from across the state.

Mr Hinchliffe's use of the proposed powers to dismiss councils, councillors or mayors will be determined by their compliance with the law, a loss of community trust and whether their actions breach standards of accountability.

Their introduction to parliament on Tuesday came hours after the Liberal National Party accused Treasurer Jackie Trad of ignoring 326 complaints of corruption against the Ipswich council when she was local government minister between 2015 and last year.

However Labor says that figure actually refers to the number of pages in a document relating to just three accusations received by Ms Trad.

Sam O'Connor, LNP member for Bonney, said the opposition would oppose a ban on property developer donations to political parties being simultaneously debated in parliament.

It is among a series of recommendations from the CCC's Operation Belcarra report, which found widespread flouting of donation rules in the 2016 local government elections.

"The laws are designed to deal with the perception of corruption rather than actual corruption," Mr O'Connor told parliament.

"To extend these laws to the state level and to make them retrospective is a blatant misuse of power."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also announced an extra $7.4 million would go towards the CCC over the next four years in the wake an increase in corruption complaints.

Source : https://au.news.yahoo.com/qld-councils-face-sack-under-proposed-laws-021539880--spt.html

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