Reform to change the way councils do business

THE biggest reform of Local Government in a generation will become law after changes to the Act were passed in Parliament late last night.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said suggestions made by the Southern Downs Regional Council contributed to amendments to the Local Government and City of Brisbane Acts that will change the way councils do business. 

"I've met with all of Queensland's 73 Councils, and they wanted change," Mr Crisafulli said.

"During a meeting with Southern Downs Regional Council, councillors said community plans were costly, time consuming and duplicated information already contained in financial and corporate plans.

"As a result, Community plans are no longer required in the new legislation.

"They also said current conflict of interest provisions were too restrictive and prevented them from voting on issues related to local sporting and community groups if they were a member.

"These have also been changed.

"If we want to change the economy, we need to change the things that were holding Queensland back.

"The previous Act made councils less responsive to their communities because they were too busy reporting to George Street in Brisbane.

"Whether it's Brisbane City Council having to pay $5,000 for tabling the minutes in the wrong order, or regional mayors having to keep pointless logs of requests to their CEOs, we can do a lot better.

"Voters are back in the driver's seat with their councils, rather than bureaucrats and the State Government."

"Big or small, country or city, the message was the same: stop the stupid rules and regulations," Mr Crisafulli said.

"The previous Act made councils less responsive to their communities and we're restoring their power to act."

Changes include:

·        Mayors back in control of councils, so they are truly accountable to their ratepayers

·        Red tape cuts by dispensing with annual community and financial plans

·        Residential occupiers are now responsible for complying with local laws, as well as owners

·        Councils can again hold referendums on issues of significant local interest

·        Conflict of interest provisions increase penalties for rogue councillors while ensuring law abiding representatives don't get treated like errant children

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