Redland City Council is calling on the State Government to consult with the community over proposed changes to Local Government legislation, including plans for compulsory preferential voting at next year’s Council elections.
Mayor Karen Williams said the community deserved to see the draft Bill and learn what it meant for them prior to it being tabled in State Parliament.
“These new, proposed changes include compulsory preferential voting at the next Council elections,” she said.
“The community needs to be consulted on outcomes of such changes which could possibly dilute the independence of local Councils.
“These are significant changes and it is only right the community has a chance to have their say, which is what Council has called for today.
“We have also suggested the State undertake a detailed education campaign to avoid confusion when residents head to the polls.”
Cr Williams said that with no community engagement or compelling case for the proposed changes, Council held concerns about the reason for the proposed changes and what other changes the State Government might be considering as part of the Bill that was currently being drafted.
“While there have been other recent changes made to Local Government legislation, they originated from the recommendations of the formal reviews conducted into the last Council elections,” Cr Williams said.
“However, recent correspondence from the State Government, plus media reports, indicate additional proposed changes to Local Government legislation beyond the recommendations of the Belcarra report and 2016 election review.”
Deputy Mayor Cr Lance Hewlett said the decision was a sign of unity for the community.
“Council exists to serve our community and a big part of that is doing what we can to ensure they are informed and educated about changes that have the potential to affect them,” he said.
“Proposing these changes without first consulting with the community is in conflict with the principles of the Local Government Act 2009, specifically the principle of ‘transparent and effective processes, and decision making in the public interest’.
“The State Government owes this to the Redlands Coast and wider Queensland communities.”
Cr Williams said Redland City Council would:
- Call on the Queensland Government to release to the community the proposed Bill on the intended changes to the Local Government Act and Local Government Electoral Act.
- Write to the Premier and Minister for Local Government, expressing opposition to the Bill being tabled in State Parliament without any consultation with the community or directly with individual local councils.
- Call on the State Government to delay the tabling of any Bill proposing changes to the Local Government Act and Local Government Electoral Act until they have consulted with the community, including undertaking a community education program that explains what the proposed changes mean to the community.
- Write to the Local Government Association of Queensland in support of its calls for greater transparency from the State Government to the Queensland community in regard to the proposed legislative changes.