More Queenslanders are expressing satisfaction with their local councils despite months of attacks on their commitment to accountability and accusations that the sector was ‘on the nose’.
And the Queensland Law Society has labelled the Palaszczuk Government’s latest move against local councils as ‘inconsistent with fundamental legislative principles and the rule of law’.
In a scathing response to the Government’s proposals to change laws covering conflicts of interest and other matters, the QLS said some changes would reverse the onus of proof and make actions taken against councils free from judicial review.
‘Further, when operational, some of the new obligations may not be practical and indeed expose local councillors to a real risk of prosecution for unintentional administrative oversights that do not amount to systemic corrupt activity,’ its submission to the parliamentary committee investigating the proposed new laws states.
Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Greg Hallam said new research had found that Queenslanders’ satisfaction with their local councils had increased this year compared with satisfaction levels in 2018.
He said the findings, by respected research firm Colmar Brunton, stood in contrast to ‘over the top’ criticism levelled at the sector in the wake of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Belcarra investigation into a small number of the state’s 77 local councils.
‘This gives lie to the claim that local government is on the nose,’ Mr Hallam said.
Queenslanders can see that councils are getting on with the job and are not interested in playing the political games that occupy those in other levels of government.’
‘This research shows mayors and councillors can hold their heads high and are held in much better regard by the public than state or federal government.’
Colmar Brunton found that 60 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with their local council, a marked improvement on the 55 percent result in 2018.