Minister backs downs on public service commission
Local Government Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, has publicly backed down over suggestions he will consider imposing a public service style commission to govern councils.
The news was met with applause from mayors, deputy mayors and CEOs attending the LGAQ Civic Leaders summit on the Gold Coast. The idea, which was proposed a week ago, was immediately dismissed as “ludicrous” and “sheer madness” by the LGAQ.
The Minister also announced that the Palaszczuk Government will seek new powers during next week’s Parliament sitting to suspend or dismiss councils, mayors, and/or a councillor when it is in “the public interest.” As a result of discussions with the LGAQ, the Minister has committed to a legislated review of these additional powers in the next two years.
The second of the proposed changes would include an automatic suspension for any mayor or councillor charged with one of a series of serious integrity offences.
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam AM, said that whilst the LGAQ continues to support automatic suspension as recently endorsed by the Policy Executive, it is vital that the system of natural justice is respected. Furthermore, he said he did not want to see elected members who commit a minor oversight, such as accidentally omitting an update on their register of interests, caught up in these extended powers,
“If someone knowingly and very willingly had concealed a major interest... That’s a very different matter, than for someone who’s missed a deadline by a week or missed out one small share portfolio of $1,000 for example.” Mr Hallam said.
Local Government Association of Queensland
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