Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Use of Commonwealth Grant Money in Queensland Local Government: Select Committee; Appointment
(1) That a select committee to be known as the Select Committee on the Use of Commonwealth Grant Money in Queensland Local Government be established to inquire into and report on the alleged misuse of Commonwealth Disaster Recovery Funding and associated conduct in Queensland local government, with reference to:
(a) the alleged fraudulent misuse of Commonwealth and state disaster recovery funds and other grants;
(b) the role of the Local Government Association of Queensland in enabling corruption and misuse of Commonwealth grant monies;
(c) the stripping of reportedly up to 50% out of Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements and Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements project funding as private profits; and
(d) any other related matter as determined by the committee.
(2) That the committee present its final report on or before 14 October 2021.
(3) That the committee consist of six senators, three nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, two nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and one to be nominated by the Leader of Pauline Hanson's One Nation.
(4) That the committee may appoint a sub-committee for the purpose of taking evidence. A sub-committee will consist of any 3 members, chaired by a government or Pauline Hanson's One Nation member, with 1 member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minor party or independent senator;
(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee; and
(c) that the presence of a quorum for the committee be determined in accordance with the provisions of standing order 29.
(6) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.
(7) That the committee elect as chair the member nominated by the Leader of Pauline Hanson's One Nation and as deputy chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
(8) That the deputy chair act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.
(9) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.
(10) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.
(11) That the committee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.
(12) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.
(13) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such documents and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.
Labor will be opposing this motion. The statutory requirements for governance of Queensland's local government system are established by the Queensland parliament, and any evidence of corruption and wrongdoing in Queensland local government should be referred to the standing royal commission into public sector corruption, the Crime and Corruption Commission.
The Greens won't be supporting this motion either. We have consistently called for greater transparency in funding decisions to stop the pork-barrelling and the rorting that has allowed grant funds to be used to buy outcomes and benefit mates. Concerns regarding misuse of funds by local governments should be investigated, but we understand these matters have been looked into and the councils cleared. Moreover, the types of matters raised in this motion are not matters for the Senate. Unlike the Commonwealth, Queensland has a Crime and Corruption Commission to investigate integrity issues, and any outstanding matters should be referred to them.