Business leader says mayor should step aside
BUSINESS leaders have called on the mayor of Logan, south of Brisbane, to step aside amid allegations he corruptly received a speedboat boat from a Chinese developer.
Queensland's Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has ruled out removing mayor Luke Smith from his post, saying it's up to him to decide if he can continue.
But Logan Chamber of Commerce secretary Stewart Fleming says Smith should leave his posts while the allegations are dealt with.
"I think we need strong leadership," Mr Fleming told ABC radio.
"Even (if he's) not guilty he's going to have a lot to deal with and I think it's probably unfair to expect the man to defend himself and continue to face internal battles."
Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission alleges Smith lied to its Operation Belcarra, which was investigating alleged corruption in the March 2016 council elections.
The 48-year-old has been charged with official corruption, failing to correct his council register of interests and two counts of perjury.
The CCC found the company Logan Futures created an "artificial separation" between Smith and his financial backers, which reduced the transparency of donations.
The company was set up to direct donations and pay campaign expenses and received $377,883 from dozens of property developers and businesses.
The ABC has reported that the charges against Smith relate to a speedboat given to him by a Chinese developer which he later sold.
Acting on the watchdog's recommendation, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in October introduced legislation banning political donations from property developers, which is due to be voted on in state parliament by May.
Smith is scheduled to front Beenleigh Magistrates Court on April 17. He is expected to contest the charges.
Smith did not respond to phone calls yesterday, but released a statement that he would vigorously defend the charges.