State Election 2017: What caretaker mode means for councils
On 29 October Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called an election, with Queenslanders heading to the polls on 25 November 2017.
The Queensland Parliament has now been dissolved, meaning the government is officially in caretaker mode – but how does this impact councils?
There are two main ways:
Government must avoid making big decisions
In its most basic form, a government in caretaker mode must avoid making any major decision that will bind an incoming government.
It’s important councils consider this when interacting with the State Government leading up to the election on November 25.
The Cabinet Handbook states the government should, “avoid implementing major policy initiatives, making appointments of significance or entering into major contracts or undertakings during the caretaker period”.
All committees cease – including their inquiries
All committees of the Parliament – other than the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee – have now ceased.
The Committee of the Legislative Assembly will continue until the start of the polling day for some of its functions.
This means that all inquiries by these ceased committees have also lapsed – all Bills that have been introduced in the Legislative Assembly but are not yet passed automatically lapsed on 29 October.
Bills may or may not be reintroduced in the next Parliament.
Which Bills have lapsed?
A list of Bills which have lapsed are listed below in the order they appeared on the Notice Paper on 29 October.
Two Bills are of particular interest to local government:
This Bill would establish a new system for managing Councillor Complaints, including an Independent Assessor for assessing complaints and a mandatory code of conduct for councillors.
This Bill would ban developer donations to (state) and local government election candidates and amend the conflict of interest provisions in the Local Government Act.
The LGAQ will re-prosecute its position on these Bills with the Government after the election and will advise members as soon as legislation has been re-introduced.
Bills lapsed at dissolution of Parliament on 29 October 2017:
- Tow Truck and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Electricity and Other Legislation (Batteries and Premium Feed-in Tariff Amendment Bill
- Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Bill
- Healthy Futures Commission Queensland Bill
- Crime and Corruption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Nature Conservation (Special Wildlife Reserves) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Education (Overseas Students) Bill
- Hospital Foundations Bill
- Stock Route Network Management Bill
- Mineral, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Guardianship and Administration and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Land, Explosives and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Plumbing and Drainage Bill
- Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Local Government Electoral (Implementing Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
- Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill
Any questions about what this means for councils should be directed to Stephan Bohnen, Principal Advisor – Intergovernmental Relations: Stephan_Bohnen@lgaq.asn.au or 1300 542 700.