Biggest Council Reform Commences with Act Change

14/09/2012

The biggest reform of local government in a generation has begun with the tabling of a new Act in Parliament.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said changes to the Local Government and City of Brisbane Acts would empower Mayors and councillors and once again make Councils accountable to their communities.

The amendments follow his visits to most of the 73 Councils around the State, which gave him a chance to hear local wish lists. Member for Kallangur, Mr Trevor Ruthenberg, said he was with the Minister when he visited Moreton Bay Regional Council.

"I'm excited to see the start of the changes we talked about in that meeting come to fruition," Mr Ruthenberg said.

Mr Seath Holswich, Member for Pine Rivers, said the proposed changes to the Act were the best news in a long time for local communities.

"The previous State Government had Councils wrapped in so much red tape they were being blocked from getting on with the job of responding to their community's needs," Mr Holswich said.

"Too much regulation means too much time and money reporting back to Brisbane."

"Any money saved by Councils because of the proposed new laws will be able to go straight back into the community where it belongs."

Changes introduced include:

• Putting Mayors back in control of Councils, so they are truly accountable to their ratepayers
• Cutting red tape by dispensing with annual community and financial plans
• Making occupiers responsible for complying with local laws, as well as owners
• Reinstating Councils' abilities to hold referendums on issues of significant local interest
• Changing the onus of the conflict of interest provisions to increase penalties for rogue councillors while ensuring law abiding representatives aren't treated like errant children

"The LNP is focussing on getting Queensland moving again, and letting Councils do what they were intended to do - look after their communities rather than bureaucracies," Mr Ruthenberg said.