Tuesday, April 23, 2024

LGAQ backs CCC inquiry as ‘critical step’

The announcement of a Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), to be headed by Tony Fitzgerald AC QC, is a critical step in restoring confidence in this important institution, Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) President, Sunshine Coast Regional Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said today.
 
Mayor Jamieson (pictured) publicly thanked the State Cabinet for agreeing to call a Commission of Inquiry into the CCC, as recommended following last year’s Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC) Inquiry.
 
“The bipartisan PCCC Inquiry into the matter involving former Logan councillors found serious failings in the CCC’s operations, corporate governance and culture.”

“The Inquiry was established after a complaint by the LGAQ, and it found the CCC miscarried in its decision to charge the former councillors. It found the CCC breached its duty under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 to act at all times independently and impartially.

“It found the CCC exceeded the limits of its powers under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.
 
“Queensland needs to have a fearless CCC that is thorough, rigorous and robust,” Mayor Jamieson said.

He said the CCC must have adequate checks and balances to preserve its own reputation and trust with the public, and to ensure it was not abusing its extensive powers.

“This Commission of Inquiry is the right move to ensure those failings are corrected and that processes are put in place to stop the failings outlined by the PCCC’s Inquiry from happening again.”

“We thank the State Government for announcing it will be adopting all recommendations of the PCCC, including this crucial inquiry.”

Mayor Jamieson said the PCCC’s Inquiry confirmed the LGAQ’s concerns, not only regarding the conduct and integrity of the CCC’s investigation, but also regarding the watchdog’s general use of seconded police officers to issue charges, and the diversity and tenure of the CCC’s executive.

“The CCC is an investigative body. It should not be a prosecuting authority as well,” he said. 
 
“That responsibility should be independent of the CCC and sit with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
 
“Concerns have also been raised, by both the LGAQ and others, about the current diversity of the CCC and whether it reflects the original vision of the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
 
“Queensland councils look forward to Commissioner Tony Fitzgerald AC QC considering these issues as part of the Inquiry.”
 
Mayor Jamieson said the LGAQ continues to call for compensation and an apology for the councillors impacted by the CCC’s actions in the Logan matter.
 
“Let’s not forget there was also a very real human cost to the travesty of justice that occurred in this case, and those impacted by the CCC’s wrongful actions deserve an apology and compensation for what they endured,” Mayor Jamieson said.
 

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