The Crime and Corruption Commission has charged 15 people with more than 70 charges during its investigation into the Ipswich council.
The Crime and Corruption Commission has charged 15 people with more than 70 charges during its investigation into the Ipswich council.

One week since council's response, minister prepares to move

TIME is ticking before the State Government reveals the future of Ipswich councillors.

Today marks seven days since the deadline for councillors to provide Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe with a response to his show-cause notice.

Mr Hinchliffe previously indicated he would take at least one week to make a decision about whether he would sack the council.

The Crime and Corruption Commission has charged 15 people with more than 70 charges during its investigation into the Ipswich council.

Mr Hinchliffe has read the council's notice response.

"I need to consider the advice I'm receiving as well," he said.

Mr Hinchliffe said he was conscious the residents of Ipswich "want to know what's going on, going forward".

He did not rule out reissuing a new show-cause notice under the new, more powerful Local Government Act.

It was also revealed an independent body to toughen up the investigation of complaints and nab bad behaviour "before councillors reach the watch-house door" will be operational this year.

The Office of the Independent Assessor will work alongside the Crime and Corruption Commission and have the power to seize documents and compel people to attend interviews, with stiff penalties applying for non-compliance.

"The CCC will continue to investigate corruption, while the Independent Assessor will focus on official misconduct," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"The new system is designed to put the brakes on bad behaviour long before councillors reach the watch-house door.

"What we have now is not up to the job. It is convoluted, lacks teeth, and - given recent events - clearly fails to act as a sufficient deterrent for some councillors."

If complaints are not genuine, the assessor will have the power to dismiss them and impose a hefty penalty.