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Mayor Loft has seven days to save his job

DEEP WATER: Local Government Minister Mark Furner has notified Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft his intention to suspend him.
DEEP WATER: Local Government Minister Mark Furner has notified Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft his intention to suspend him. Valerie Horton

FRASER Coast mayor Chris Loft is set to be suspended by the State Government.

Local Government Minister Mark Furner made the announcement on Tuesday from Brisbane, five days after Cr Loft was arrested and charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Cr Loft now has seven days to convince the State Government he should not be stripped of his right to lead the Fraser Coast Council.

Local Government Minister Mark Furner.
Local Government Minister Mark Furner. Alistair Brightman

This will be the first time in Queensland history a Minister has exercised their power to sideline a mayor.

Since he was arrested and charged by the state's anti-corruption body last week, Cr Loft has insisted he will stay on as mayor for the duration of his court case.

But Minister Furner said his decision followed "repeated findings of inappropriate conduct and misconduct during (CrLoft's) tenure as Mayor".

"It is necessary to uphold the importance of these principles in relation to appropriate behaviour and to protect the public through general deterrence of other Councillors, maintaining the high standard expected by the community," Mr Furner said.

Should Cr Loft fail to respond to the notice or convince the Minister there are "reasonable grounds" not to proceed he will be banned from the council until further notice.

The 66-year-old was last week charged with two counts of misconduct in relation to public office, disclosure of official secrets, wilfully disclosing information and computer hacking. .

Cr Loft has been contacted for comment.

Before being made aware of the decision, Cr Loft issued a statement via his official Facebook page which read:

"To all my supporters and even to those who aren't so fond of me.

I want to thank you for the amazing messages, calls, emails and pats on the back in the past few days.

I am not permitted to discuss any matters regarding my court case and as Mr Ken Diehm stated last week "the charges laid against the mayor will have no impact on the operations of the council and we will continue to deliver high quality services to our community".

Mayor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council Chris Loft has been charged by the CCC.
Mayor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council Chris Loft has been charged by the CCC.

I was elected to do a job for my community and I intend to follow through on my promises and with the enormous outpouring of support I have received in recent days I am confident we can achieve what is best for the community.

Wednesday's meeting is very exciting for the region as the media has reported there is a boom going on in terms of development and projects hoping to move forward in the region.

After the meeting I hope to have some very exciting news to share as well that I think all ratepayers will want to hear!

A dear friend sent me this quote and whilst I certainly do not feel alone at this time, I want to share it with you all as motivation as we move forward to a brighter future for our region and state.

"Stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone"."

Topics:  auspol chris loft council fccouncil fraser coast hervey bay state government



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