Trad cleared of corruption, but changes flagged
JACKIE Trad has been cleared of corrupt conduct by the state's corruption watchdog.
But the Crime and Corruption Commission has recommended major changes including new criminal offences for failing to disclose a conflict of interest and failing to update the Register of Interests.
The CCC finally revealed the findings of its assessment into corrupt conduct allegations levelled at Ms Trad over the Woolloongabba investment property this afternoon, seven weeks after The Courier-Mail revealed the Deputy Premier had failed to declare the property.
It revealed it had found no evidence of corrupt conduct. But the watchdog found the current Cabinet processes wanting and has recommended changes like new offences for non disclosure.
It is now up to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to decide whether she will divvy out punishment for any breaches of the ministerial code of conduct for failing to declare the $695,000 investment home purchased at Woolloongabba, in the Cross River Rail corridor, on time.
The Deputy Premier is expected to permanently lose oversight of Cross River Rail as punishment.
The government's largest infrastructure project is expected to be handed to either State Development Minister Cameron Dick or Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
Mr Bailey has been temporarily looking after the project.
Ms Trad has promised to "fill the void" following the CCC's ruling.
The CCC has recommended changes, including making failure to declare a conflict of interest and failure to update the Register of Interests a criminal offence, identifying non-disclosure as a corruption risk. It found the current Cabinet processes wanting.
"The CCC's assessment did not identify evidence or information suggesting a criminal offence had been committed," the CCC's statement said. "The CCC will therefore not commence a corruption investigation.
The watchdog reconfirmed it had no jurisdiction to investigate breaches of the ministerial and cabinet handbooks, stating it was a matter for Parliament.
"The CCC notes the Deputy Premier has acknowledged she did not update her statements of interests in relation to the purchase of the property within one month as required under section 69B of the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001," the statement read.
"This section required the Deputy Premier to update her own change in interests as well as changes related to any related person.
"Failing to comply with this section is not a criminal offence, and therefore not corrupt conduct.
"The Deputy Premier has not disputed she did not declare an actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest when participating in the CBRC decisions concerning the Cross River Rail and ICSSSC with which this assessment is concerned.
"An issue arises as to whether she adhered to requirements contained in the Ministerial Handbook and Cabinet Handbook by not disclosing an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest in relation to these matters.
"The statement of interest issue and conflicts of interest issue are matters for the Parliament.
"... the CCC is of the view the current process for declaring actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in matters before Cabinet is not consistent with best governance practice and should be improved.
"It was evident from the CCC's assessment there was no standing agenda item calling for any actual, potential or perceived conflicts to be raised and dealt with. It appears the practice relies on individual Ministers to raise these issues.
"This creates a potential corruption risk.
"While, on this occasion, the CCC has determined there was no corrupt conduct, improving the processes to document if any members were asked to declare conflicts and record how any conflict was dealt with on matters before Cabinet is critical to reducing the corruption risk and improving transparency of future decision-making.
"The CCC also considers that failure to properly declare and manage a conflict of interest should attract criminal sanctions."
She was referred to the CCC for investigation by the LNP before ultimately referring herself and pledging to sell the house at cost once the watchdog had ruled.
The Deputy then faced a bruising Budget Estimates overshadowed by the integrity scandal.
Mr MacSporran - who was attempting to assemble an Ikea bookshelf when he took the call - ultimately recused himself from the matter to protect the CCC's reputation.
The investment property purchase came just seven days before the Government decided which bidders would build the project.
The winning bidder had also proposed a different location for the station, further away from the home.
The final sign-off for the new Inner City South School nearby - one of the most expensive to ever be built in Queensland - also came after the house was purchased.
The Premier was also forced to endure a second integrity scandal following revelations a company part-owned by her chief of staff David Barbagallo had received a $267,500 taxpayer-funded leg up to develop a smartphone app.
Both crises would drag on for weeks, overshadowing parliament and depriving the Government of oxygen.
This was reflected in last week's Courier-Mail/YouGov poll which revealed the Palaszczuk Government was at risk of being turfed from office with the LNP leading Labor 51 to 49 per cent, two-party preferred.
Ms Palaszczuk's personal popularity also took a hit, sliding backwards 13 per cent in just six months, her worst result since she was elected in 2015.
It loomed large at Labor's State Conference after CFMEU boss Michael Ravbar - a member of Ms Trad's Left faction - threatened to move a motion calling for the Treasurer's head.
Calls have been growing for Ms Trad to stand aside regardless of today's outcome but she has so far resisted.