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No evidence developer donations buy favours

News Release

Monday, 9 October 2017

No evidence developer donations buy favours

The Crime and Corruption Commission has admitted that there is little research based evidence to show that donations to councillors by developers influence a council’s decision making.

Local Government Association of Queensland President Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the CCC specifically stated in its Operation Belcarra report that there was 'generally little research evidence to suggest that donations do result in donors receiving preferential treatment by politicians'.

Mayor Jamieson said any perception that political donations bought influence could be eased if Queensland councillors were obliged to treat donations over $500 to their campaign as a Material Personal Interest, thereby ensuring they left council meetings if their donors’ business was being discussed.

'A simple change to the Local Government Act is all that is needed to deal with this issue, not an undemocratic ban on one category of political donations,' he said.

'If you legislate that a donation above $500 to a councillor is treated as a Material Personal Interest, then the councillor has no choice but to leave the room and take no part in the debate.'

Mayor Jamieson was responding to the Palaszczuk Government’s insistence on banning donations from developers in the wake of the CCC’s Belcarra Report.

'The CCC has acknowledged there is little research to back up the notion that donations from developers and others lead to corruption and heard evidence to that effect from expert witnesses at the Belcarra hearings,' he said.

He said University of Southern Queensland law Professor Anthony Gray told the CCC: “…contrary to what some people might believe without having done research,… there is actually very little evidence of links between money being donated and that particular individual or that particular organisation being given favours.” (Operation Belcarra report, p77)

Mayor Jamieson said the Government’s reforms would boost the power of unions and lobby groups, adding to the already considerable costs councils incur in dealing with issues such as industrial relations matters and other demands and requests.

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006


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