Calls for state-wide council probe reach state parliament
THERE are calls for a new council watchdog as corruption allegations continue to plague Local Government in Queensland.
Locally, ex-mayor Chris Loft and outspoken aspiring politician/government agitator Jannean Dean are among those campaigning for a state-wide probe - independent to investigations so far carried out by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
A petition calling for the appointment of a "select committee to inquire into Local Government with the power to call for persons, papers and things" and for the CCC to be replaced with a "proper Independent Commission Against Corruption" has been submitted to State Parliament by Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen.
Mr Sorensen has repeatedly discussed alleged misconduct within the Fraser Coast Regional Council in parliamentary sittings.
Mr Sorensen has been named a "sponsoring member" of the petition, while Ms Dean is the chief petitioner.
The petition will be tabled on August 21.
About $14.1 million from this year's State Budget was allocated to appoint an independent assessor to work alongside the state's corruption watchdog investigating councillor misconduct earlier this year.
The new watchdog will have the power to seize documents, compel people to attend interviews and dismiss vexatious complaints.
But Ms Dean doubts the new body will be able to properly investigate improper behaviour within all Queensland councils.
She said the move wouldn't solve issues of transparency and accountability.
"The toothless tiger now has a tooth, because what they had before was ineffective, but it's not a full mouth of teeth to deal with everything" Ms Dean told the Chronicle.
"On top of the money they're giving to the CCC, they're going to run this independent assessor alongside it.
"To me, it shows a lack of performance from the CCC."
Ms Dean said her concern was the new assessor wouldn't have the power to fully investigate councils and would end up "tainting other honest and trustworthy councillors with the same brush."
"This will help a bit, but it won't go far enough," she said.
Mr Sorensen was contacted numerous times for comment.
An LNP spokeswoman however said members of parliament routinely sponsor petitions on issues important to members of their community.