A parliamentary inquiry into the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) has been announced, amid growing concerns of ‘petty’ investigations of councillors.

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) President and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor, Mark Jamieson, said the LGAQ and its member councils were growing increasingly concerned with the types of investigations being launched by the OIA and the time being taken to resolve complaints.

“The misconduct investigation launched into Barcaldine Regional Council Mayor Sean Dillon is a clear example of where the system is going wrong,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“A mayor should not be facing sanctions for speaking out in support of his community.

“We simply cannot have a situation where elected members are scared to represent their communities in the frank and fearless way Queenslanders not only expect but deserve.”

Announcing the inquiry, Queensland Premier, Anastasia Palaszczuk, said, “The OIA respects the role of a parliamentary committee in conducting this task.

“The Deputy Premier and I feel it is time to refer those complaints to a parliamentary committee to conduct an inquiry. 

“The terms of reference will be finalised within the coming days.”

The Courier Mail reported The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties (QCCL), just prior to the Premier announcing the inquiry, had written to the State Government urging an investigation into the OIA.

QCCL Vice-President, Terry O’Gorman, said in the letter the OIA “may be improperly exercising its power”.

The LGAQ welcomed the announcement of the parliamentary inquiry.

“The LGAQ has always supported the role of the OIA but after three years, we believe it is time for a parliamentary review to look at what is working and what is not,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“I would like to thank Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles for taking this action and the LGAQ looks forward to discussing this further with the Deputy Premier next week.”

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