Property developers will be banned from giving political donations under sweeping reforms introduced into Queensland’s State Parliament on Tuesday.
The reforms will be retrospective from 12 October 2017 when the bill was introduced and any donations received after that date will have to be repaid.
Prompted by the damning Operation Belcarra Report into political donations by the Crime and Corruption Commission last year – which identified councils as a “hotbed for perceived corruption” – Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised to ban developer donations entirely.
The Palaszczuk government supported all 31 recommendations from the Crime and Corruption Commission to reduce the risk of corruption in councils and strengthen transparency.
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Banning outright donations from developers drove a large portion of the CCC’s Operation Belcarra Report, which pointed out that there were concerns that unspecified councillors were making decisions to favour donors in return for having supported their election campaigns.
The report was put before the Queensland government in October 2017 with the recommendations of banning industry donations. Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the latest reform measures, were the next stage in efforts to revitalise Local Government in Queensland.
“We’ve seen too often the risks associated with councillors accepting donations from property developers, and then voting on development applications from those same donors.
“Given the potential for conflicts of interest in these situations, we’re seeking to prohibit political donations from property developers,” he said.
The Bill will now be considered by the Economic and Governance Committee.