DISMISSED: State sacks 'outlaw gang' of Ipswich councillors
A SIMPLE stroke of the pen today will end three months of uncertainty and result in Ipswich's 11 councillors being dismissed by the State Government.
Last night parliament passed legislation to sack elected representatives and appoint an administrator.
The Bill will be given Royal Assent today, where it will be signed into law.
One hundred and eleven days after he first announced intentions to dismiss councillors, Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe delivered legislation that will result in an administrator presiding over Ipswich City Council until at least 2020.
Queensland Parliament agreed the Bill was an "urgent matter", fast-tracking its passage through the house.
"There have been many findings, some of them deeply disturbing," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"The people of Ipswich deserve better and they will get much better with the arrangements we are putting in place."
He said Ipswich City Council intended to challenge the show-cause notice in the Supreme Court.
"While I know that is their right, it is not in the best interests of the people of Ipswich," Mr Hinchliffe told parliament.
Mr Hinchliffe said the needs of council staff were "at the heart" of the government's intervention in Ipswich.
"We will correct the failure of governance, we will ensure proper practices and procedures are put in place," he said.
"There is no doubt in my mind that these are extraordinary circumstances."
A change to the Bill will now mean dismissed Ipswich councillors will be able to stand in other local government elections before 2020.
Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller left her father's bedside in the Ipswich Hospital ICU to cast her vote in parliament to dismiss Ipswich City Council.
Ms Miller praised the Bill and took the boot to the council.
It's the day when the light can be shone on every corner of our city's administration," she said of the government's action.
"At times I've been the lone wolf for taking a stand against the alleged corruption and maladministration.
"Finally this government has been forced to listen."
In parliament Ms Miller doubled-down her attacks, describing councillors "like pigs with their heads in the trough".
This council is, I believe, an outlaw Local Government gang," she said.
"The councillors wore the Ipswich City Council colours but they didn't ride bikes, they used taxpayer-funded cars and they rode on private jets."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Bill "puts an end to the question marks over Ipswich City Council".
"These councillors are collectively responsible.... the standard you walk by is the standard you accept," she said.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said dozens of residents and council staff contacted her after the show-cause notice was issued in May.
"The general mood in Ipswich is one of confusion, frustration and sometimes anger," she said.
"Staff were telling me of bullying by one or two of the longer-serving councillors... this is unacceptable.
"I want to reassure council staff those days are behind them."
Ms Howard felt "sympathy and empathy to some of the councillors" but said the dismissal was about "righting a systemic wrong".
The Ipswich MP said the council chaos caused the city's CBD redevelopment to "virtually come to a standstill", which had forced businesses to close.
"The people of Ipswich are fighters and will bounce back from this upheaval," she said.
Opposition speakers criticised the State Government for allowing corruption concerns to continue at Ipswich.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington cited teary scenes at the council's last meeting on Monday and said the "Labor-made scandal" needed to end.
"I'm quite sure there are not too many ratepayers who are shedding tears to see the back of Ipswich City Council," she said.
"Labor's Ipswich City Council was allowed to roll-on undisturbed."
LNP's spokesman for State Development Andrew Powell noted Ms Howard's acknowledgement of a festering problem within the council.
"Something doesn't fester unless it's allowed to remain in a state for a long period of time," he said.