Decision on fate of Ipswich council could take a month

UPDATE: COUNCILLORS have argued charges laid by the state's corruption watchdog against individuals associated with Ipswich City Council do not relate to local government, the council or councillors.

The council has lodged its response to the Local Government Minister's show cause notice.

Today was the deadline - 21 days after the notice was issued.

Residents won't know the fate of the councillors for at least seven days and could be waiting almost a month for a final decision.

The Minister's notice suggested there was a "systemic issue within both the administration of council and the elected councillors".

In its 42-page response, the councillors have argued it would not be good governance of local government to sack "entirely innocent elected persons".

In a statement released just before 5pm the council said its response pointed out that no individual charged had entered a plea or been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

"No individual has entered a plea to any charge, no statements have been provided, no indictments have been presented, no trials have been conducted and no jury, properly instructed by a judge, has yet to reach a verdict whether the prosecution had proved a case beyond reasonable doubt."

Acting mayor Wayne Wendt said the majority of Ipswich residents did not want the council removed.

"Many of the charges are totally unrelated to local government, the council or the councillors," Cr Wendt said.

"The removal of innocent, and democratically elected officials, from their positions is not the right move.

"In fact, it would take away people's representation at the grass roots end of politics.

"Despite a vocal minority, feedback from the majority of people we're hearing from want us to continue to represent their voice in the council chambers."

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the "comprehensive" submission included letters from the Acting Mayor and Ipswich Councillors, as well as letters from the Acting CEO and appointed CEO.

"I would like to thank Council for its careful consideration of the matters raised," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"I give my commitment to Ipswich City Council and the people of Ipswich that I will give the submission, and all the materials before me, the close attention they deserve.

"Under the Local Government Act, I am required to make a decision within a reasonable time.

"Based on advice I have received, a reasonable time is between seven and 28 days."  

EARLIER: 

TODAY is the deadline for the show cause notice asking Ipswich councillors why they should keep their jobs.

The councillors have written a submission in response to the notice issued by Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe on May 3, however, there is no confirmation that submission has been received by the Minister's office.

Despite today's deadline, the fate of Ipswich councillors is still unclear.

Once the submission has been received, it will be considered by the Minister who says he will "give any submission due consideration".

Last week there were reports a new show cause notice could be issued after new powers to remove councillors were passed through the parliament but that has not been confirmed by the Minister's office as a possibility.

The notice issued on May 3 was a five-page document listing the 66 charges against 12 people associated with Ipswich City Council.

The QT has exclusively seen the document.

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