Minister won’t postpone council elections despite pandemic
THE local government election and by-elections set for later this month have the go-ahead as the global coronavirus pandemic continues.
Despite recent concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the Local Government Minister has decided against changing this year's election dates as they proceed ahead for March 28.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said an amendment bill allows officials "to better respond to the latest expert advice as it emerges" as he refuses to postpone current election dates.
"We don't take these steps lightly," the Minister said.
"Local government plays an essential role in delivering services and supporting communities, and we need to ensure these needs are being met".
The Minister said the Public Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill is allowing the Government and the Electoral Commission of Queensland to act quickly on expert advice about the coronavirus.
Mr Hinchliffe said in a statement that "there is no need to change the date for the local government elections or the by-elections".
"We continue to work in collaboration with the Government throughout this evolving and challenging period for all sectors," the Minister said.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the current advice was the elections could still proceed.
"(Chief Health Officer) Jeanette Young said it's really important that we have these elections so that we can have stability in local government going forward and we've got elected councillors who can make decisions," she said.
"We need all levels of governments working so we need this election happening.
"Of course that advice can change and that's why we put in contingency measures and legislation last night."
More than a third of Queenslanders have already voted by either postal or pre polling.