Ipswich Councillor Accuses Government Minister Of Nitpicking

Paul Tully calls for sacking.


24 July 2018

Article heading image for Ipswich Councillor Accuses Government Minister Of Nitpicking

A veteran Ipswich City councillor denies a council-owned entity has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, and says Queensland's local government minister is nitpicking.

Stirling Hinchliffe has tabled three damning reports about the Ipswich City Properties, a company 100 per cent owned by the Ipswich City Council.

The minister said the reports contain evidence of potential fraud and breaches of the Corporations Act, and show he was right to sack the council amid ongoing corruption and misconduct cases against elected officials and staffers.

Mr Hinchliffe said the reports about the way ICP was run have left him shocked.

"I was shocked and surprised at the lack of transparency and indeed, the indications that the setting up of the entities was around avoiding transparency," he told reporters on Tuesday.

But veteran councillor Paul Tully, who chairs the ICP, said the minister "nitpicks", doesn't care who he hurts, and that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should sack him.

"He is probably the poorest-performing minister in the government and the sooner the premier moves him on the better," Mr Tully told ABC radio.

The reports pointed to serious governance problems, including a failure to sign off on board minutes, and $50 million spent by ICP on a CBD development which never eventuated.

The reports also raised questions about ICP expenses, including private jets and all-expenses paid overseas travel for officials, councillors and staff, to the US in 2010.

Mr Tully defended the work of the ICP, saying it was still in the early stages of a $15.5 billion redevelopment of the Ipswich CBD.

"Our plan has always been to redevelop the CBD in its entirety over a 20 year period at no ultimate cost to ratepayers which no council in Australia has ever done before," Mr Tully told ABC radio.

"There was one set of minutes out of all of those years wasn't signed ... it was going to be presented to me at the next meeting."

Mr Tully strongly denied taxpayers' money had been squandered.

"I haven't seen what they have put out this morning but all of the information will be refuted," Mr Tully later told AAP.

Mr Hinchliffe said council-owned entities "have been acting as a law unto themselves" and tried to conceal lavish spending by using $83,000 of ratepayers' funds on high-priced lawyers to fight Right to Information requests.

Next month, the minister will introduce special laws to dismiss the council after 15 people with council links were charged with more than 70 corruption and related offences.

An administrator will be appointed to run the council until the next elections.

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