A former Logan councillor is worried about additional funding to boost the might of Queensland’s local government watchdog.
The state government announced $1.3 million over two years to support 8 positions in the Office of the Independent Assessor.
Three of the 8 positions were funded last December.
This follows an internal review of the complaints system to ensure it was working properly.
In the last financial year, more than 1,000 complaints were made to the OIA – of which 18 regarded conduct within Logan City Council.
Former councillor Phil Pidgeon – who was cleared of wrongdoing in a landmark case resulting in 8 Logan councillors being sacked and charged with fraud – said the extra oversight is worrying.
“You’ve got to be careful how much bureaucratic interference you allow because there’s only so much you can do before it stops people doing their job,” he said.
He highlighted how there was already heavy oversight during his time in office, but even then, it resulted in the wrong decisions.
“As evidenced in the recent QIRC proceedings and the dismissal of the fraud charges, it was found that the people in that action were caught up in it and innocent,” he said.
He would instead like to see the money go to training for elected members.
“The money would be better invested in training elected members in director responsibilities and liabilities,” he said.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the positions help the OIA investigate complaints against councillors, clarify conflicts of interest and the sorts of decisions councillors can make.
“We’re also providing greater resourcing support for OIA to help carry out its investigations into councillor complaints and keep up with high demand,” he said.
“We will streamline the process of declaring conflicts of interest, clarifying when a councillor can and cannot participate in decision-making.”