Tully offers Ipswich sacking alternative

Ipswich City councillors have argued it would be unfair if innocent elected officials were all sacked due to the actions of those charged by Queensland’s corruption watchdog.
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The scandal-plagued council late Thursday lodged its show-cause submission to the state government as to why it shouldn’t be dismissed, despite two successive mayors and CEOs facing serious charges.

In all, 15 people with links to the council have been slapped with a total of 73 charges by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Recent fraud charges brought against mayor Andrew Antoniolli, who replaced Paul Pisasale last August after he resigned amid corruption charges, prompted Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe to dismiss the entire council.

The council’s show-cause submission stressed no one had been found guilty of any charge and the council had continued to deliver its daily functions .

Acting Mayor Wayne Wendt said it highlighted that all allegations were the result of “complex investigations by police”.

“Many of the charges are totally unrelated to local government, the council or the councillors,” Mr Wendt said.

“The removal of innocent and democratically elected officials from their positions is not the right move.

“It would take away people’s representation at the grassroots.”

Mr Wendt said 19 recommendations put to council in a 2017 review of governance, most to improve transparency and accountability, had been enacted.

He claimed most constituents want the sitting councillors to remain, despite a “vocal minority” .

Veteran councillor Paul Tully, meanwhile, said he wanted Mr Hinchliffe to appoint an oversight committee to watch and report back on the council’s dealings over the next two years.

Mr Hinchliffe won’t make a quick call on the council’s fate, saying he would make a decision within seven to 28 days.

Pisasale, who resigned last June, is on bail charged with corruption, extortion, assault, misconduct and perjury, while former chief executives Carl Wulff and Jim Lindsay are also before the courts.

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