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Premier brings in donor ban ahead of Coast visit

ON HER WAY: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced State Cabinet will meet on the Sunshine Coast on Monday.
ON HER WAY: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced State Cabinet will meet on the Sunshine Coast on Monday. DARREN ENGLAND

AS COMMENTARY swirls around a date for the next Queensland election, State Cabinet will meet on Sunshine Coast on Monday.

The Premier's Department was yesterday afternoon still to have determined avenue for the gathering of State ministers and the Premier.

The Premier will come to the Sunshine Coast having roundly rejected Mayor Mark Jamieson's opposition to the ban on developer donations to local government candidates.

In an address to Parliament yesterday Ms Palaszczuk quoted segments from Crime and Corruption Commissioner Alan MacSporran's report to rebuff claims by Mr Jamieson that the bans were unfair if not equally applied to other sectors like protest groups and unions.

"Mr Speaker, I know that during consideration and debate on this bill - both in this Chamber and in the public arena - references will be made to extending the ban on donations from property developers to other types of donors," she told Parliament.

"In response, I wish to draw everyone's attention to pages 78 and 79 of the CCC's report on Operation Belcarra.

"On those pages, the CCC clearly states that other types of donors do not demonstrate the same risk of actual or perceived corruption in Queensland local government as property developers.

"Furthermore, the CCC concludes that, quote, 'a more encompassing ban is not appropriate'.

"I am prepared to be guided by the advice provided by our independent corruption watchdog, and I urge others to do the same.

"The Bill today specifically introduces a prohibition on property developer donations."

The new legislation is enforceable from yesterday and would apply to both State and Local Government.

"This is an important step, given the State is also involved in development assessment, whether it be through environmental approvals or the power to call in a development if it involves a state interest," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The legislation's term 'prohibited donor' was defined to include a property developer and their close associates, such as related corporations, directors and their spouses, and any industry representative organisation whose members are mainly property developers.

The ban applies to direct and indirect gifts to a political party, elected member or candidate in an election.

Gifts made to an entity in a private capacity are specifically excluded from the ban, but it would apply to political party subscription fees which exceed $1000 per year and any fund raising contributions.

If a person accepts a prohibited donation, the State may recover up to twice the amount or value of the donation.

Councillors must also declare their own conflicts of interest and report when they believe a colleague has failed to do so.

One of the items up for discussion may be the Building Industry Fairness Bill, with the joint-party parliamentary committee response to the document expected to be tabled in Parliament today.

Housing Minister Mick de Brenni launched in Nambour the state-wide consultation process which informed the subcontractor security of payment legislation.

The matter was part of the exchange of letters between Nicklin independent Peter Wellington and Annastacia Palaszczuk that allowed her to form government three years ago.

For the legislation to be delivered in time for a proposed trial of project bank accounts on government contracts from $1m to 10m to start as planned on January 1, 2018, parliament would need to resume at least for the second October sitting days on the 24th, 25th and 26th.

That timing would leave November 25 the only remaining date this year

The Cabinet meeting is not a community cabinet where delegations are received from community groups and the public.

Instead it is a one-day affair which is expected to allow the Premier to push her pre-campaign message that her government has had to work hard to restore front line services and jobs slashed by the LNP Newman Government between 2012-15.

"The Sunshine Coast - like other regions across Queensland - suffered under the devastating cuts to the frontline between 2012 and 2015," she said yesterday in a statement.

"In the area of Health alone, more than 100 nursing positions were cut from the Sunshine Coast region.

"I am proud to say that my Government has not only restored these positions, but we have added more. To date, we have employed an additional 180 doctors almost 600 nurses.

"In terms of job creation, we have worked with industry, businesses and the council to create new opportunities. By working together, the unemployment rate on the Sunshine Coast we have reduced the unemployment rate from 7.3% at the last election to 5%."

Topics:  annastacia palaszczuk ban cabinet developers donations legislation mark jamieson sunshine coast


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