Councillors 'too powerful' on development decisions
2:42 PM January 10 2006

Queensland's Residential Development Council is calling for councillors to be stripped of their power to intervene in property development applications.

The development council's executive director, Ross Elliott, says councillors have greater leeway to influence individual applications than do state and federal politicians.

He says changes are needed to ensure the controversy that surrounded the Gold Coast City Council last year is not repeated elsewhere.

Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission investigated the Gold Coast council over claims a select group of pro-development councillors formed a voting block and misled voters.

Mr Elliott says councillors should be removed from the entire approval process.

"The independent tribunal is the one that's got the power to assess these applications, to determine if they come up to scratch, if they're in line with the town plan, if certain concessions should or should not be made, but essentially removing the politics from the whole process," Mr Elliott said.

He says the current situation creates uncertainty and suspicion in the community.

"You really can't have a situation where individual councillors have so much say in what does go through and what doesn't," Mr Elliott said.

"It's a tough political issue for the LGAQ [Local Government Association of Queensland] because no councillor is going to want to lose that power but if we're going to fix it, it's got to be faced."

Source: ABC