MP urges creation of new 'special power' to sack council
SPECIAL legislation to dismiss the Ipswich City Council is an option the State Government should consider using, one of its own members has urged.
Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe had the option to introduce new powers to sack the council.
The move would be similar to a Bill rushed through the Queensland Parliament last month that gave Mr Hinchliffe additional power to sack a council "in the public interest".
The Ipswich City Council secured a small victory today when Mr Hinchliffe agreed not to progress a decision about the show-cause notice while a challenge was before the Supreme Court.
With the council now set to remain in place until at least July 31, Ms Miller said the State Government could act through parliament to dissolve the council.
Any new legislation would not progress while the matter was before the court, but could be used if it finds against the government.
"The State Government legislated in May to give the minister powers to issue a second show-cause notice in the public interest," she said.
"The State Government has the power to legislate again if it so chooses."
The Queensland Parliament is not due to sit again until July 24 for Estimate Committee Hearings.
A special sitting could be called by the government to push through legislation.
Ms Miller said new legislation "could include amendments to the Local Government Act or it could include a stand-alone Bill just in relation to Ipswich City Council".
The council claims the Minister does not have the jurisdiction to dismiss the council and, through its legal action, claims it is protecting Queensland councils by launching a challenge.
Ms Miller said a separate Bill to remove the council would quash that claim.
"In this instance, the parliament would be giving the minister the power to act only in relation to Ipswich City Council and no other Queensland council," she said.
"The parliament is in charge of its own destiny and if the parliament so chooses to pass this type of legislation, it would then become law upon assent or upon proclamation."
Cogs in the process to sack the council started turning on May 3, one day after Mayor Andrew Antoniolli was charged with seven counts of fraud - which he intends to fight.
Since then Mr Hinchliffe has received a response from the council before issuing a second show-cause notice on June 20.
The council is due to respond to the minister by tomorrow's deadline, but the nine-day timeline for a response was one reason the council challenged the notice.
Ms Miller has previously called for people to make their views about the council known to the State Government.
It comes as Cr Wendt claimed on Tuesday that "80 per cent" of the public supported the council.