The entire Logan City Council has been sacked after fraud and corruption claims resulted in the suspension of the mayor and several of its councillors.
In an announcement made on Thursday, the dismissal of all 13 councillors was prompted by what has been described as an “unprecedented integrity crisis in Logan”, leaving local government minister Stirling Hinchliffe “no choice but to intervene”.
“Dismissal is the only option available to me, given Logan City Council has lost its quorum and can no longer function effectively,” Hinchliffe said in a statement.
Logan City, which sits between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, is home to more than 320,000 people and is one of Queensland's most diverse cities made up of more than 217 different cultures.
The dismissal is now the second Queensland council to be sacked within a 12 month period. Ipswich City Council was dismissed in August after its Mayor and chief executives were charged with corruption.
With nine of Logan's 13 councillors automatically suspended as a result of “serious integrity charges”, council no longer had enough numbers to conduct meetings.
As a result, council had been left unable to pass a budget, appoint an acting mayor or pass a resolution to delegate matters.
“I have not taken this action lightly and I want to stress that I had no choice but to intervene in the best interests of Logan residents. This action does not interfere with any current legal proceedings and let me be clear any individuals facing charges are innocent until proven guilty,” Hinchliffe said.
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Retired senior public servant Tamara O'Shea will take charge as interim administrator until the next local elections in 2020. O’Shea will be assisted by a committee made up of the non-suspended officials Lisa Bradley, Darren Power, Jon Raven and Laurie Koranski.
“In the coming weeks, I’ll be appointing an Interim Management Committee, just as I did for Ipswich City Council to assist the interim administrator there to perform his responsibilities,” Hinchliffe said.