Gympie ‘hot spot’ of council concerns

On August 11th, 2107 Arthur Gorrie, senior journalist at the Gympie Times published the following interview with QLGRA president Colin Hewett, concerning local government issues and their impact on the QLGRA AGM, to be held in Gympie on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd September 2017, at the Freemason’s Hall in Channon Street, Gympie.

You can read this article online at:

Or view the full article on our website: 2017, August 11 – Gympie Times Interview.

A reproduction of the article on page 3 of the Gympie Times can be viewed here:

2017, August 11 – Gympie Times Page 3 Facsimile.

Gympie ‘hot spot’ of council concerns

Arthur Gorrie | 11th Aug 2017 5:00 AM

GYMPIE and Fraser Coast regions are “hot spots” for public concern about council performance and accountability, according to a peak ratepayers’ group campaigning for reform.

And that concern will be given focus in Gympie at the Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance’s annual general meeting and public forum to be held in Gympie on the first weekend in September.

The alliance says council amalgamations have been a failure in many cases and have curbed accountablility to the public.

QLGRA president Colin Hewett told The Gympie Times yesterday he believed the state Local Government Department was presiding over a council system which was “on the verge of collapse”.

The Gympie meeting on September 2 and 3, at the Freemason’s Hall in Channon St, will be open to the public.

Mr Hewett said there were mounting concerns about the “strong mayor syndrome” in which changes introduced by the former Newman government had concentrated council power in Chief Executive Officers and mayors.

“Councillors are on the outer and do not have to be involved in anything much,” he said.

Mr Hewitt acknowledged the campaign comes at a time when there is political pressure for reform from Independent Queensland MP Rob Pyne and Queensland Greens’ candidate Amy McMahon.

Ms McMahon will stand against Deputy Premier Jackie Trad in her electorate of South Brisbane at the next state election.

Ms Trad has admitted there is concern in the community about the role of council CEOs investigating complaints, along with mayors, when they may be the subject of those complaints.

Mr Hewett said the failure of accountability bodies to function with any real independence had created a system of complaints handling that amounted to “Caesar investigating the conduct of Caesar and coming up with findings in favour of Caesar”.