Local Government Bill hands all power to the Minister

9th August 2007Labor’s forced local government amalgamations legislation was an
unprecedented grab for control and would hand all power to the Minister,
the State Coalition warned today.

State Coalition Leader Jeff Seeney said Labor’s Local Government Reform
Legislation Bill 2007 handed every imaginable control to the Minister,
including the ability to hit mayors and councillors with fines of $1125
for holding referendums – for giving their local communities a say.

“The Bill is disgraceful legislation. While we (Coalition) guarantee
communities will be given their right to choose, Peter Beattie and
Minister Fraser are hell-bent on gaining absolute control,” Mr Seeney

“The new law will be draconian with the Minister handed absolute final
say on all actions of councils before and after changeover. He can sack
local transition committee members at any time and interim chief
executive officers can over-ride council CEO’s and direct staff to do
whatever they want.

“Councils will effectively be in ‘caretaker’ mode from the moment this
law is passed through to March next year, meaning they can’t make any
major decisions. They can’t sack a CEO. They can’t employ a CEO. They
can’t make any decision on any project or equipment purchase valued over
$150,000 or one per cent of last year’s annual report earnings.”

Mr Seeney warned that local government would effectively be shut-down
across much of Queensland with councillors and their managers having
their hands tied and all key decisions taken away from them.

“This takes centralisation of power to a new height.  Andrew Fraser will
soon be the most powerful minister in the state with local government
being reduced to branch offices of his department-directly under his
control, Stalin and the commissars would be proud .

He said the other major concern was the handover of industrial relations
issues from elected councillors to local transition committees stacked
with ALP stooges.

“This is pure union-dominated policy and the reason why the unions have
been so silent on job losses. This hands industrial relations to the
committees that will be stacked with unelected union officials.

“This is the pay-off that’s kept the unions silent. It’s a shameful grab
for union fees while thousands of jobs in local communities are lost and

“This is about handing power dishonestly to big city union bosses
without giving a damn for local council workers in Isisford, Aramac,
Tambo or Longreach.”

Media Contact – Jeff Popp 0438 153 857