Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Council candidate watchdog welcomed by Minister

THE establishment of a new council candidate watchdog is a move welcomed by Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

Those standing in the Ipswich City Council election in March will be put under greater scrutinity by the Independent Councilc Election Observer.

It will review claims of false or deceptive campaign material, including claims made in public speeches and posted on social media.

The outcome of assessments will be published online but the ICEO has no legal authority to compel candidates or councils to co-operate.

The Local Government Association of Queensland has provided $375,000 to fund the watchdog.

"The 2020 local government elections will usher in a new era of local government that will be welcomed across Queensland," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"Any steps taken by any organisation to ensure that the March elections are fair and factual are always welcome.

"The Palaszczuk Government has undertaken a comprehensive suite of local government reforms so Queenslanders can have increased confidence in the local government election process and in their new councillors."

A statement from the ICEO said there were 38 candidates for either councillor or mayor for Ipswich in the 2016 election.

"A poll that was remarkable for the number, nature and extent on individuals and councils," the statement read.