Fraser Coast Regional Council - Mayor Chris Loft.
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Mayor Chris Loft. Alistair Brightman

Council won't support sacked mayor's appeal

THE Fraser Coast Regional Council has ruled out supporting former mayor Chris Loft should he appeal his dismissal by the State Government.

In a historic move in Queensland local government history, Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe sacked the embattled mayor on Friday.

Mr Loft now has the choice to appeal the decision through the Supreme Court.

But Fraser Coast CEO Ken Diehm said the council would not fund an appeal should that happen.

"Any legal fees would be entirely a matter for Mr Loft to consider," Mr Diehm said.

Further doubt has been cast on the legislative right of Mr Loft to challenge the ruling.

Under section 114 of the Local Government Act 2009, a decision on behalf of the Local Government Minister is not subject to appeal.

Section 244 further states any decision not subject to appeal cannot be "challenged, review, quashed, set aside of called into question in any way."

But University of Queensland law professor Graeme Orr said it was not the same as a court appeal.

Professor Orr said Mr Loft could only argue that due procedure was not followed and the decision was void.

"He can't go to the Supreme Court and re-argue the matter as he can't re-litigate facts," Prof Orr said.

"There is a distinction between an appeal and a court case, this is a ministerial decision."

Prof Orr said the statistical likelihood of a Supreme Court challenge was "unlikely" given the high cost and narrow grounds of appeal.

A DILGP spokeswoman said it was a matter for Mr Loft to seek legal advice to determine his appeal rights.

"Should there be any appeal, the department will follow the relevant court processes," the spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman from the Electoral Commission of Queensland said they were liaising with council to organise a timeline for a by-election, which includes the deadline for candidate nominations.

Mr Loft was contacted for comment.



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