Racing Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe.

Push for new State Government powers to sack dodgy mayors

STATE Parliament will next week be asked to green light new powers to allow for councillors and mayors to be sacked if it is in the public interest as the Palaszczuk Government moves to deal with growing council corruption claims in the southeast.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has told a Local Government Association of Queensland leaders summit on the Gold Coast that two "urgent" reforms would be brought to the House next week, an automatic stand down power for mayors and councillors charged with serious offences and the ability for the minister to sack them if it is in the public interest.

The changes will be included in the Belcarra Bill currently before the House.

That Bill also bans developer donations to state and council candidates.

Mr Hinchliffe said the expansion of the powers of the Local Government Minister to dismiss or suspend a Council, a Councillor or Mayor if it is in the public interest would put "beyond doubt" the minister's capacity to intervene when necessary.

"Suspicion and distrust have impacted the entire sector leading to a loss of public confidence - and therefore trust - in local government," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"With trust comes confidence and I am determined to see that trust returned."

Mr Hinchliffe also ruled out a public service-style commission for council staff.

But he said reforms were needed to ensure they had more protection.

It follows backlash from councils about the possibility.

Mr Hinchliffe has committed to reviewing the new provisions within two years.

Councillors and mayors stood down would be stood aside with pay.

LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam said the organisation was supportive of the automatic stand down powers.

Mr Hallam also welcomed the Minister's commitment that the new powers would be reviewed.

But he urged the government not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater".