Bundaberg deputy mayor Bill Trevor at the Port of Bundaberg last year.
Bundaberg deputy mayor Bill Trevor at the Port of Bundaberg last year.

Why councillors' jobs are getting harder: Deputy mayor

BUNDABERG'S deputy mayor has criticised proposed local government laws that could add pressure on councillors, and potentially scare off qualified nominees.

Bill Trevor said there was much uncertainty about updates to the Belcarra legislation that has already changed the role of councillors by preventing them from talking directly to staff.

Council staff could also make complaints through the Crime and Corruption Commission rather than to the chief executive officer, but given the anonymity of complaints, it left councillors vulnerable to legal attacks.

Cr Trevor said anonymity contributed to 19 complaints against Bundaberg councillors, that were dismissed.

"You don't know about them until someone rings you, or you get a letter from the office of integrity," he said.

"I don't do anything, I don't declare anything until I've taken legal advice on it because it's gotten that way.

"You're not going to leave yourself exposed in any shape or form but I would imagine there would be a spate of complaints against councillors prior to the election."

Bundaberg councillors including the deputy mayor said this legislation was a reaction to the corruption charges against the Logan and Ipswich councils.

"If people have done things wrong they've been caught, but don't make that job harder for everybody else that they've made it impossible to do," Cr Trevor said.

"I just hope it doesn't get to the stage where we make it that hard that we don't get the right people standing for council while a lot of good people will walk away and say 'it's too bloody hard, I'm out of here'."

Cr Trevor said new proposals could enforce training for nominees, no matter if they were already a councillor.

He said this was "demeaning".

The deputy mayor said that if the training was useful, the same standard should also be set for state and federal candidates.

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