The Queensland Times Mayoral candidate forum held at USQ Ipswich on Tuesday night. Teresa Harding.
The Queensland Times Mayoral candidate forum held at USQ Ipswich on Tuesday night. Teresa Harding.

Councillors back plans to reveal how money is spent

A Majority of the new Ipswich City councillors have thrown their support behind plans to implement a hub to publish data on how ratepayers’ money is spent and was previously spent by council.

Plans for the transparency and integrity hub were announced earlier this week, with a mayoral minute motion to be put forward at Monday’s council meeting to implement the initiative.

While councillors were yet to view the motion in full, some were already on board.

Division 3 councillors Marnie Doyle and Andrew Fechner have both expressed strong support for the idea.

“It is absolutely something the residents want to see and something that I fully support,” Ms Doyle said.

“We must get this right. Ipswich is depending on us. Teresa and I both share a background and passion around open data policy, so that certainly sets the tone.”

Mr Fechner said it was an ideal way to present information to ratepayers.

“It’s a new way of processing data and making that very visual and very easy to access for people and I think that’s probably one of the most important things,” he said.

“It’s not just a tool to shine a light on the atrocities of the past, it’s something that we will actually use moving forward in the future to present the decisions we’re making on behalf of the entire city.”

Councillors Nicole Jonic and Russell Milligan both said they would also back the idea.

Division 1 councillor Sheila Ireland said she was agreeable to opening the books, but had some questions of her own.

“Until I get a briefing on everything, I can’t answer the question,” she said.

“How many people are going to look at that? And there’s the effort that is going to be put into it and the time of council staff to put it up all the time, but if that’s the decision, then I’m happy to abide by that.”

The QT also attempted to contact councillors Paul Tully, Jacob Madsen and Kate Kunzelmann.

Mayor Teresa Harding said councillors discussed how they wished to proceed as a council during their second day of induction.

“Obviously improving our reputation was one of those and building trust and we thought the best way to do that was to be a leader in transparency and integrity, so that’s the stance that we’ve taken,” she said.

“If this does proceed, we’ll be the first in Australia to have a transparency and integrity hub.”

Councillors were set to receive a copy of the motion and the meeting agenda last night.