Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran speaking about the CCC report into local government transparency and accountability.
Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran speaking about the CCC report into local government transparency and accountability. Emma McBryde

Mayor Pisasale accuses CCC of being run by politicians

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale has accused the Crime and Corruption Commission of being run by politicians following the release of its report on local government transparency.

The public report tabled to Queensland Parliament on Thursday came after a 10-month investigation into allegations relating to Cr Pisasale's campaign fund.

The CCC found no corrupt conduct regarding the Ipswich Mayor's Community Fund Inc and Forward Ipswich Inc and no evidence that Cr Pisasale misused any community-raised funds.

But the anti-corruption watchdog's chairman, Alan MacSporran, said the community fund and Forward Ipswich Inc contributed to perceptions of corruption or self-interest on Cr Pisasale's behalf.

"Sadly, the CCC has been directed by politicians to attack and discredit other politicians when the real enemy in our community is organised crime and drugs," Cr Pisasale said.

But Mr MacSporran said the CCC was doing its job.

Cr Pisasale said he was hoping for more clarity from the report.

"I was hoping that terminology in regards whether helping the community is a conflict of interest or my job," he said.

One thing both sides agreed on was that voters should know about donors.

One of the report's six recommendations was that the government amend legislation to ensure donations were disclosed earlier.

Mr MacSporran said people should know how the money was spent.

"We recommend that there should be a more contemporaneous reporting of the donations being made so that when you come to vote you know who's donated to whom, how much and the context in which that's occurred," Mr MacSporran said.

MAYOR’S CALL: Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says he has been vindicated by the CCC’s local government transparency report, but warns that the CCC must be used to investigate crime and not for political agendas.
MAYOR’S CALL: Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says he has been vindicated by the CCC’s local government transparency report, but warns that the CCC must be used to investigate crime and not for political agendas.

There is no penalty at the moment for not declaring how money is spent and CCC director Paxton Booth said it would be up to the government to determine how it would be policed.

The CCC also recommend conflicting local government acts be aligned so the threshold on what donations are reported are the same.

"Under the Local Government Electoral Act you have to report donations received in excess of $200," Mr Booth said.

"In the Local Government Act, once you're an elected official the threshold is $500.

"It's different again if you're a third party; the threshold is $1000."

Cr Pisasale is calling for the same treatment across all government tiers.

"The public is confused... you can't have three levels of government doing three different things," he said.

"There must be a level playing field."

While Cr Pisasale said it was important the community knew about all donations before an election, he would not state whether he would declare them all if it was not required.

"I'm going to do what I have to do," he said.

"All the money I've collected in the past I'm actually not going to use for any campaign fund, I'm only going to be using for communities."

The CCC also recommended associations not be permitted to use an official title, such as mayor, in its name unless it is a controlled entity and audited by the Queensland Audit Office.

Another suggestion was that the government strengthen the obligation on councillors, chief executive officers and senior executive employees to declare funds, gifts or benefits provided to another entity that could be perceived to provide the relevant person with a benefit.

The recommendations will now be considered by parliament. - APN NEWSDESK



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