Bruce Saunders MP Maryborough.
Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Bruce Saunders MP Maryborough. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle Valerie Horton

Deputy Premier not making idle threats about sacking council

MARYBOROUGH MP Bruce Saunders has warned the Fraser Coast Regional Council that the Deputy Premier "is not one to make idle threats".

The MP's warning comes just after Deputy Premier Jackie Trad tabled the controversial advisor's report on council in Queensland Parliament.

"If it proves necessary, this government will remove the council and ensure that the community has an opportunity to elect local government representatives who put the community interests ahead of childish squabbling and indulgent, egotistical behaviour," she said on Wednesday.

"Should the situation deteriorate to the point where further intervention is required under the Local Government Act 2009, either in the form of removal of a councillor or councillors, or the dissolution of the council, my message to the Fraser Coast Council is simple: this government is prepared to act."

The damning report highlighted communication issues between mayor Chris Loft and CEO Lisa Desmond, distrust between councillors and a culture of "control, favouritism... (and) low morale" in the workplace.

"The department is of the firm view that council will not be able to achieve the required outcomes for the people of the Fraser Coast," the report said of these issues. Mr Saunders said there were no winners in the report.

"It's time the shenanigans and bullying stopped. It's up to the mayor to show leadership, and the councillors to work together and work with management," he said.

"The losers, if it continues, will be the residents of Fraser Coast. The Deputy Premier is a woman who doesn't make threats like that; if they don't improve, they will be sacked."

Part of the report mentioned "little respect and trust between its (council's) elected representatives" that indicated an abuse of the complaints process.

Councillors have otherwise welcomed the report, with Cr Rolf Light hoping they could move forward.

"I welcome the assistance of the State Government, and I'm sure we can move forward in a positive direction for the community," he said. But Cr Light was still critical of Mr Saunders's assessment of the findings. "It's time that Bruce allows us to get on with the job, and he should concentrate on state matters," he said.