LGAQ President Mark Jamieson’s response to Operation Belcarra report
LGAQ President Mark Jamieson's response to Operation Belcarra report
The Local Government Association of Queensland welcomes the CCC report and supports all recommendations except two (developer donation bans and empowering councils to force councillors with a conflict of interest to leave the meeting), for the reasons outlined below.
Our position regarding the conduct of candidates in local government elections is very clear: transparency is paramount.
Councils need to reflect the values and aspirations of their communities. They are leaders in open and transparent government, value scrutiny and understand the obligation to be accountable to their communities.
The LGAQ supports the Palaszczuk Government’s decision to introduce real time disclosure of electoral donations as an important step towards increased openness and transparency.
Earlier this year we called on the Government to make a register of interests compulsory for candidates at the time they nominate for election. This would further improve transparency and accountability. To date, the LGAQ has not received a response to this proposal.
In his testimony before the CCC’s Belcarra investigation, LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam proposed further reforms, including tightening the requirements of the Local Government Electoral Act in relation to disclosure by groups of candidates and banning donations from a political party to a non-endorsed candidate.
The LGAQ also wrote to the Government last month proposing a system of campaign spending caps for local government elections as another step towards ensuring transparency and accountability local government sector.
Under the LGAQ’s proposal, an expenditure cap of $2 per voter for mayoral candidates and $1 per voter for council candidates would apply. The proposed rules would also prevent mayoral candidates from spending more than $200,000 and council candidates from spending more than $50,000 on their campaigns.
The LGAQ believes this would help prevent corruption and undue influence as it would deal with the demand for campaign funds that drives fund-raising practices.
Such a system would also reduce or contain the costs of elections and make them more competitive and fairer to all who want to run for their local council.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006