Could The Entire Ipswich City Council Get The Sack?
The Queensland government is under mounting pressure to dissolve the scandal-plagued Ipswich City Council, with one of its own saying immediate action is needed.
Mayor Andrew Antoniolli, elected in August on a platform of integrity and transparency, was charged with seven counts of fraud on Wednesday.
The Crime and Corruption Commission alleges he used council funds for his own use for five years until May 2017, to buy auction items from charities.
Rogue Labor MP for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller, whose electorate encompasses parts of Ipswich, said the community is fed up with the allegations of corruption.
"The community is saying to me that they've had enough, they've had a gutful of all of this," she told ABC Radio on Thursday.
Just in: Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli facing seven counts of fraud. pic.twitter.com/NBe4JD1Od6— Josh Bavas (@JoshBavas) May 2, 2018
"They're saying that the stench does not only come from the dumps in Ipswich, but it's also coming from the council."
Ms Miller said she had been urging governments on both sides of the political spectrum to investigate the council since 2004.
"I've been ignored for a very long period of time," she said.
Ms Miller said she had assisted residents to go to the CCC, local government minister of the time and department of local government with their concerns.
"However, that wasn't much good because the process was that if you went to the minister or the department of local government, they'd go back to the CEOs and ask for an explanation," she said.
"As we now know we have got two CEOs who have now been charged."
Ms Miller said she had not spoken to Antoniolli but had made her opinions known to Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.
"There are many many people in Ipswich who have known about the culture of alleged corruption for a long period of time and quite frankly they're calling on the government to do something about it," she said.
The latest scandal surrounding Antoniolli is the latest blight on the council's reputation after former mayor Paul Pisasale was slapped with fraud, corruption and misconduct charges last year.
Long-time former CEO Carl Wulff was also charged with corruption while his successor, Jim Lindsay, was stood down in January after being charged in September.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington called on Mr Hinchliife to grow a backbone and "appoint an administrator immediately".
"This Labor crisis is unprecedented and it's time Annastacia Palaszczuk cleaned up Labor's backyard," she said on Wednesday.
Mr Hinchliffe is reportedly looking at dismissing the entire council and moving to an interim administration.
On Wednesday, he said he was shocked and dismayed by the charges and was seeking legal advice to "act swiftly".
Mr Hinchliffe indicated he would take the advice to cabinet on Thursday but could not say whether any reforms could be expedited in the current parliamentary sittings.