REDLAND City Council has thrashed out controversial recommendations to go to a parliamentary committee looking at bills regarding integrity in councils and making complaints about councillors.
At last week’s general council meeting Cr Paul Gleeson put forward a motion calling for activist organisations like Redlands2030, CARP and the Koala Action Group be banned from making political donations or taking part in election campaigns.
The move was voted down, with councillors agreeing to a briefing from staff on the ramifications of any such recommendations and for revised motions to be put to today’s special meeting.
Today’s submissions will go to a parliamentary committee looking at the Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill and the Local Government Electoral (Implementing Belcarra) and Other legislation Amendment Bill.
The bills are aimed at tightening local government regulations after investigations raised questionable practices at the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan and Moreton Bay councils.
The Redlands submission on Belcarra recommends that a prohibition on developer donations to councillors be extended to include all corporate entities and lobby groups.
It also sought to extend the definition of political donations and registered gifts and benefits to be deemed a material personal interest, requiring effected councillors to remove themselves from meetings.
The second submission calls for all complaints about councillors to be dealt with by an independent assessor, that people making complaints be protected from reprisal, that the disclosure of information about a complaint be prohibited until after the matter is assessed and that penalties be imposed for breaking that prohibition.
Council also seeks that only the outcome of any assessment be made public.
Councillors sought that all 31 recommendations of the Belcarra Report be covered by the legislation and that real time disclosure of donations include third party donors so all donors are treated equally under the proposed act.
Cr Gleeson said he was happy with the final form of submissions.
Cr Paul Golle who was away at a conference said an independent commission against corruption ought to be set up to investigate matters.
“The current recommendations do not and will not address the issues in local government relating to what can only be seen as a complete breakdown in trust of government at every level by the community,” he said.
“Using existing agencies to address issues that have arisen out of the community’s need for transparency, is only window dressing and individuals who know how to manipulate the system will continue to do so.”
Cr Golle said some council-contracted suppliers had donated to council candidates which was wrong.
Developers made up a small proportion of donations and should not be the total focus of any legislation.
“While it is being suggested that groups like Redlands2030 influence outcomes of elections, the same can be said for Redlands2031 (which) favours the alternative view,” he said.