Ipswich council to be dissolved

EXPLAINED: What happens next for Ipswich council?

COUNCILLORS will be asked to show cause to why they should not be sacked.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe will write to councillors today and give them one week to respond with reasons why they should keep their jobs.

He will then consider submissions before deciding the next steps.

A spokesperson for the council said it was "considering its options" and intended "to show cause within the required timeframe".

Ipswich council's acting CEO Gary Kellar, who has guided the council since October, said it could be a month before a decision is made on whether the council will be dissolved.

Mr Kellar explained the 'show cause' notice the Local Government Minister said would be issued to the council, would include specific points for the council to respond.

The council has until May 24 to respond to the 'show cause' notice and the Minister will then consider those responses.

Mr Kellar said in the meantime, it would be business as usual.

"If the council is dissolved, the State Government will appoint either a single administrator or a panel of administrators for a time period nominated by the government," he said.

"Those administrators will represent the council, in place of the 11 elected councillors."

He said the normal process of council officers preparing reports for councillors would continue with the administrators acting as the decision makers.

If the Minister accepts the council's response and decides not to the dissolve the council, it will be business as usual.

As Andrew Antoniolli chose to stand aside as mayor, he would have the option of moving back into that position, Mr Kellar said.

Acting Mayor Wayne Wendt confirmed ratepayers would not be impacted by the dismissal proceedings. 

"Rubbish will be picked up, dogs registered, parks mowed, along with all those other many functions council provides to the community," Cr Wendt said.

 

Q&A's (provided by Local Government Minister's office)  

Q. Who receives the Show Cause Notice?

A. The Acting Mayor, with copies to individual Councillors.  

 

Q. How does a Council respond to the Notice?

A. The Council may respond as a whole within the time prescribed in the Notice. However, Councillors may also respond as individuals.  

 

Q. How soon will an election be held?

A. At a time determined by the Local Government Minister, when it is clear the Council is operating effectively.  

 

Q. What are the new powers the Minister is seeking?

A. A strengthening of the legislative ability of the Minister to respond to overwhelming community concern about the Council's capacity to effectively represent the community's best interests.  

 

Q. How soon can an interim administrator be appointed, and who can it be?

A. Should the Minister for Local Government decide to recommend dissolution of a Local Government, he or she would then proceed to the appointment of a 'suitable' administrator. It is Governor in Council who dissolves the Local Government and appoints an Interim Administrator.  

 

Q. In the case of the Minister deciding that the Ipswich City Council should not be dissolved, will it be 'business as usual' for the Council?

A. Yes, albeit with the elected Mayor standing aside from that role until corruption charges have been resolved.  

 

THE MINISTER'S SPEECH

Here is what Minister Stirling Hinchliffe told the Queensland Parliament this morning:

"When an entire community loses faith in its elected leaders - as is the case in Ipswich - it's time to act.

The situation in Ipswich we see today is of the gravest concern.

The people of Ipswich are shocked by what has happened…some are angry, many are outraged…

…others are, quite frankly appalled at what they perceive as the repeated breaches of trust from their elected representatives.

The Ipswich community is reeling…

….12 people, including two Mayors, are facing a total 66 charges.

The current Ipswich Mayor is facing seven charges of fraud, as a result of CCC investigations.

Frankly, the eyes of Ipswich City Council has not been on the ball.

And the impacts we've already seen have been devastating…

…on the morale of Council staff
…(including) on the personal wellbeing of individuals
…on Council's ability to deliver good policy outcomes
…on the Ipswich community as a whole

Based on urgent legal advice, the Government will now commence the process of appointing an administrator at Ipswich City Council, as provided by the Local Government Act.

The Government has not taken this decision lightly. However, I have reached the conclusion that Ipswich City Council can no longer function effectively.
I acknowledge the support of the Leader of the Opposition and the CEO of the LGAQ for this course of action

Today, I will ask Ipswich City Council to show cause why they should not be dismissed.

Next week I will be asking Cabinet to consider strengthening the legislative powers of the Local Government Minister dismiss councils, when they have lost the trust of their community

I appreciate this course of action will impact Councillors who were only elected in recent times.

However, I believe this course of action is necessary to restore public confidence in Ipswich City Council."
 



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