Crackdown on council ads being considered
QUEENSLAND councils could be subject to a new advertising code of conduct to prevent ratepayer-funded ads from being politicised.
The Courier-Mail understands the Palaszczuk Government is considering the move as part of a suite of reforms to local government across the state.
If adopted, it would likely mean that councils would be banned from spending ratepayer money on certain ads that feature political figures, such as the mayor or councillors.
It comes after Brisbane City Council's LNP administration was slammed for spending hundreds of thousands of ratepayer dollars on letter box drops, print, television and online ads, with some featuring Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.
Only last year, the council spent $34,650 on a segment on local TV show Great Day Out, which featured the Lord Mayor.
Labor's Brisbane councillors will today call on Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe to extend his local government reforms so councils were covered by an advertising code of conduct with "appropriate restrictions".
Councillor Jared Cassidy said the code could mirror the State Government's, claiming that the "glut" of advertising from the council would not be allowed under either the State or Federal Government's advertising rules.
"In an extraordinary attempt at an image makeover we have seen the LNP spend $3 million and counting on the 'plan your Brisbane' advertising exercise, all heavily featuring the Lord Mayor," he said.
"The outrageous and blatant misuse of ratepayer funds for what is clearly political advertising must stop."
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the proposal was worth considering in line "with the need to have consistency with other levels of government".
But Brisbane's Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner savaged the proposal as an attempt by Labor to improve their changes at the 2020 council elections.
He said the council already had their own strict policy which banned the mentioning of political parties in council ads.
"Ironically it was the former Labor administration's abuse which led to the creation of the existing strict policy that Labor now wants to change in an attempt to improve their chances of winning next year's Council elections," he said.
"The State Government code is not dissimilar to Council's policy and neither would support what Labor Councillors did when they was last in office and former Lord Mayor Jim Soorley was splashed across the front cover of ratepayer-funded publications."