Statement from Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe

Published Friday, 16 February, 2018 at 10:11 AM

Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

"This week I exercised my power under the Local Government Act to recommend Governor-in-Council dismiss Councillor Chris Loft as Mayor of Fraser Coast Regional Council.

"The dismissal of Councillor Loft is effective from 10am today, Friday 16 February.

"I have not taken this decision lightly.

"The evidence that Councillor Loft is unfit for office is clear and unequivocal.

"To date, there have been 11 findings of either inappropriate conduct or misconduct against Councillor Loft. These findings have included:

  • Breaches of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct
  • Repeated inappropriate use of media
  • Failure to comply with Council’s IT systems policy
  • Use of position to influence an employee of a council-controlled entity to covertly provide financial information
  • Improper disclosure of confidential council information to a third party
  • Failure to comply with Council’s Public Interest Disclosure policy

“Given the flagrant nature of Councillor Loft’s breaches, I am satisfied that dismissal is the right course of action.

“I have formed the view that Councillor Loft still does not understand his legislative responsibilities and is not truly remorseful for his past behaviour.

“Even genuine remorse could not alter the fact that Councillor Loft has made serial breaches of the Local Government principles outlined in the Local Government Act.

“The likelihood that Councillor Loft may continue to engage in similar conduct in future is something that I’m not prepared to take a risk on.

“To be clear, my decision to dismiss Councillor Loft has nothing to do with any matter currently before the courts, any current investigation or any charges laid by the CCC.

“Under section 164 of the Local Government Act, a vacancy in the position of Mayor must be filled by a by-election.

“The timing of that by-election will depend upon the provisions of the Local Government Electoral Act and is ultimately a matter for the Acting Queensland Electoral Commissioner.

“To the people of the Fraser Coast, I say thank you for your patience on this matter.

“You will soon have a chance to elect a new Mayor, who can better represent you and your interests, and the interests of the Fraser Coast region.”

To watch a video of Minister Hinchliffe’s statement, click here:

Media contact: Martin Philip 0427 919 548