Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie
Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie

Crime fighting body to face its own Campbell cuts

QUEENSLAND'S crime and corruption watchdog head has revealed the organisation will be scaled back - on the same day the government announced a review of its role.

Crime and Misconduct Commission chief Ross Martin told an estimates hearing at Parliament House on Thursday that the organisation was not immune from the government's job cuts.

He said 44 people had left the CMC since July 1 and he expected about 30 roles to be "dis-established", indicating there could be an overlap.

Mr Martin said the CMC's annual budget was reduced less than 1% but it would lose "a significant number of staff".

"There will be a disproportionately large effect on our staffing," he said.

"There will be real losses of capacity as a result."

Mr Ross would not reveal whether job cuts would include senior investigators because he had not briefed everyone involved.

He said he expected to brief people on Friday.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told the hearing the government did value the CMC but it wanted to ensure it "stops being used as a political football".

He said he was concerned about the CMC announcing a review of political donations in Queensland on the same day the watchdog cleared an investigation into a Brisbane City Council developer election donation.

Mr Bleijie has engaged former High Court Judge Ian Callinan and University of Queensland professor Nicholas Aroney to review the legislation on how the CMC could continue without being drawn into political debates.

"I don't think it's in the interest of the top crime fighting body in Queensland to be doing a review of political donations and using valuable resources for that when there hasn't been an issue, with respect to that issue," he said.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk asked whether, using the historical context of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Mr Bleijie would assure Queenslanders the electoral donations review would go ahead.

He said he would not interfere and knew he did not have an "overriding responsibility" but he did not think it was a priority for the CMC "on the back of an investigation that cleared everyone".

Outside parliament, Together union secretary Alex Scott said he believed the government was slashing the resources and power of the CMC at a time when they should be "dramatically increased".

"We have seen a number of inappropriate appointments across the sector and we're gravely concerned today's attack on the CMC, both in terms of its resources and powers, is a step in trying to muzzle further descent in relation to a government that's got a very strong agenda for change," he said.

During a hearing break, Mr Bleijie said he did not believe there was a problem with political donations in Queensland.

"That's why I don't think it should be a priority of anybody to review it," he said.

"I'm not going to stop the CMC doing it, I just really question their priorities.

"The CMC should be fighting major crime, major corruption.

"The CMC will continue to investigate politicians and local councillors.

"My issue is the person who puts the complaint in ... when they go and announce it to the world.

"I don't think that's fair on any Queenslanders."



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