Local Government Status Butchered

25th February 2008“The State Government’s proposed legislation to change the legal status of Queensland Local Governments to remove “Constitutional Corporation” status is an extraordinary and unprecedented throughout the world and may place $80 billon of Council assets at risk,” Queensland Shadow Minister for Main Roads and Local Government, Howard Hobbs said today.
“This drastic move is the result of the State Government manoeuvring Queensland Local Governments legislative framework to ensure that they are outside the former Federal Government’s Work Choices legislation and to honour a dirty deal with the Unions to transfer all Queensland Local Government employees into the Queensland Industrial Relations system,” Mr Hobbs said.
Mr Hobbs said the Rudd Federal Government have committed to repealing the Work Choices legislation and therefore Queensland Labor Government’s legislation is redundant and unnecessary.
“Local Government’s in Australia and throughout the world have been constituted as corporations and empowered as a body corporate with perpetual succession, a common seal, and may sue or be sued in its name.”
“The effect of the State Government Local Government and Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2008 will take away Local Government’s existence in law as a separate legal entity,” Mr Hobbs said.
“Currently the law in Australia only recognises two entities which have the ability to contract – natural persons and body corporates,” Mr Hobbs said.
“With the removal of the corporation status Local Government will not be a separate legal entity and
·           will not have the ability to contract and will be incapable of being an employer,
·           there is uncertainty as to who is in fact is vested with any liability for the actions of the Local Government,
·           property of which the local government is the registered owner may need to be transferred to the legal entity which effectively replaces the Local Government,
·           how will the assets and liabilities of amalgamated Local Governments become the assets and liabilities of the new Local Government.”
“The State Labor Government claim the de-corporatisation of Local Government will not affect their existing rights and responsibilities and they will retain existing powers,” Mr Hobbs said.
“The LGAQ have however insisted that the State Government provide indemnification of Local Governments for any loss suffered from unintended adverse consequences of this legislation,” Mr Hobbs said.
Mr Hobbs said these changes have not been tested in law and Councillors as individuals who will proceed to constitute the Council may find themselves subject to liability.
“This legislation is a legal dogs breakfast with little thought for the well being of Local Government and the communities that they represent,” Mr Hobbs said.
“The $80 billion worth of Council assets throughout Queensland is being placed at risk, all because the State Labor Government have done a deal with the unions to place Council employees back into the State Industrial Relations system,” Mr Hobbs said.
Media Contact – Howard Hobbs Ph 4622 8888