First Ipswich City Council meeting of 2020. Cr Sheila Ireland. Picture: Cordell Richardson
First Ipswich City Council meeting of 2020. Cr Sheila Ireland. Picture: Cordell Richardson

‘No comment’: re-elected councillors on new budget

PREVIOUSLY dismissed councillors Paul Tully and Sheila Ireland have kept quiet as Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding pointed out the impacts the previous council’s actions have had on this year’s budget.

Cr Harding said on Tuesday she felt heartbroken when she viewed the financial data of the controlled entities established and governed by the previous council.

“Disgusted. If I had to use one word, disgusted. You shake your head and say how did this happen?,” she said.

“But we do have a new council and I can ensure you that we’re under a lot of scrutiny, and we welcome that scrutiny.”

She said the past council had deferred planned spending of up to $150 million on vital community infrastructure, including roads in Springfield which were now over capacity, while still increasing council’s debt.

While a new council was elected in March, two of the councillors who were dismissed in 2018 with the rest of Ipswich City Council, were also re-elected.

The QT reached out to both councillors to ask their views on the impacts of the past council’s actions on this year’s budget.

First Ipswich City Council meeting of 2020. Cr Paul Tully. Picture: Cordell Richardson
First Ipswich City Council meeting of 2020. Cr Paul Tully. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Cr Ireland simply responded with a “no comment” while Cr Tully is yet to respond to our calls and text messages.

Cr Harding said it was time to move forward.

“I think everyone has been very professional and moving ahead,” she said.

“This is the budget that we’ve inherited I guess from the previous councillors and now we need to move on.”

It comes as the council prepares to launch its Transparency and Integrity hub on Wednesday.

“I’m very excited about the hub. I want to show everything,” Cr Harding said.

“We’re still going through some issues with legal and so on and what we can and can’t publish.

“My intent, what I’d like to see is all the ledgers and chart of accounts for the Ipswich controlled entities, as well as the spend in the books for the council for the last five years, as well as all the books for this council moving forward from tomorrow.”