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Council designs own fraud, corruption panel

Toowoomba City Halll.
Toowoomba City Halll. Bev Lacey

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council has developed its own internal fraud and corruption body in the wake of serious allegations in Ipswich and the Gold Coast.

The risk assessment panel falls under the council's corruption and fraud risk banner and works on "identifying organisational threats, causes and impacts, risk controls and rating of risks".

It is made up of 23 members from the council's own staff and reports to department managers, guided under internal policies.

It was formed before former Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale was charged with serious offences, and Monday night's Four Corners report into how Gold Coast Deputy Mayor Donna Gates voted in favour of developments linked to campaign donors in 2016.

Finance and business strategy group general manager Arun Pratap told yesterday's full council meeting the panel was part of a number of initiatives being developed to mitigate risks.

"What's been happening in the south-east Queensland area, with councils and a number of events making headlines, I can assure you our risk assessment profile with regard to fraud and corruption remains forefront of mind," he said.

"In fact, we've been working on a number of initiatives well in advance of things that have been happening in recent times, including the development of a risk assessment panel which consists of 23 staff who simply, under guidance of our risk management officer and our manager of governance, consider all sorts of scenarios."

Council documents reveal an enterprise risk management video was being developed and sent out across the organisation.

Mr Pratap told the council meeting recent media reports of perceived conflicts of interest between councillors and election donors, as reported by the ABC, were among the scenarios assessed by the panel.

"Those things that have made media attention in recent times are already scenarios that we have prepared for and developed, and have a series of policies and processes around (them)," Mr Pratap said.

One councillor declared a conflict of interest with two matters before the council yesterday and excused themselves from the chamber before it went to a vote.

Mayor Paul Antonio said the fraud and corruption allegations from Ipswich, and the report on developer-donor links from the Gold Coast were serious "if Four Corners is to be believed".

Topics:  corruption fraud paul antonio paul pisasale toowoomba toowoomba regional council


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