Mayor Chris Loft reports 'anomalies' to corruption watchdog
FRASER Coast Mayor Chris Loft says he has reported a number of "anomalies" to Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission after he reviewed the council's financial statements and records.
The mayor issued his own press release yesterday stating he had an obligation to report certain anomalies to the relevant authorities.
When contacted by the Chronicle, Cr Loft would not comment on what the anomalies were and whether they involved a significant amount of money.
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He said it was up to the CCC to investigate and report its findings.
"I have also sought advice from relevant authorities including but not limited to, the CCC."
Cr Loft said the community needed to "understand and respect the sensitivity of these matters and that relevant investigations and processes will take time".
While he would not say what the anomalies were, Cr Loft said they had been there for "quite a while".
"They go back a long way," he said.
Cr Loft told the Chronicle his background as an accountant had assisted him as he went through council documents and, after finding the anomalies, he had then raised his concerns.
"When things go 'pear-shaped', ratepayers foot the bill and I believe that is a part of the reason why we are so heavily rated," he said in the statement.
"Having the right governance structures that are set up in a strong anti-corruption framework takes out a lot of the risks that lead to 'pear-shaped' outcomes further burdening the community and ratepayers."
Cr Loft said he would provide updates on the situation down the track to the extent that the law permitted.
"I will also take the necessary time and all reasonable steps to ensure that FCRC has systems that are compliant, efficient and effective," he said.
The Chronicle contacted the CCC, which was unable to confirm or deny whether a complaint had been made.
In State Parliament this week, Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen asked Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to release the report into the operations of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, compiled by Steve Johnston, who was acting as an adviser to the council before we was suddenly replaced last month.
Ms Trad responded to his query, telling Mr Sorensen that no report had been prepared, but assistance had been given to the council.
"The issues confronting Fraser Coast council are pretty significant and I want to acknowledge that in this house," she said.
"That's why my director-general moved swiftly to appoint a deputy director-general as the adviser to Fraser Coast council to assist them with the issues that they were confronting.
"The deputy director-general has been returned to my agency for additional duties and we have another adviser, a very experienced former CEO of the Cassowary Coast local government council, who is assisting Fraser Coast in their current issues.
"In terms of any information that results from the assistance that my agency gives Fraser Coast, I will inform the house at the time that that information is concluded.
"There is currently not a review. What we have done is we have provided expert departmental assistance to the Fraser Coast council as opposed to compiling, investigating and reviewing the council."
Cr Loft acknowleged what was said by Ms Trad and agreed that the issues the council was facing were significant.