Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor, Chris Loft.
Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor, Chris Loft. Valerie Horton

Fraser Coast faces long wait on the future of mayor Loft

THE Fraser Coast faces a lengthy wait to find out about the future of mayor Chris Loft, after a year marred by internal dysfunction, infighting and leaks within the council.

Despite issuing a notice of intention to suspend Cr Loft last week, the State Government is unlikely to make their decision until new Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe returns from an overseas holiday.

FOLLOW MORE FCCOUNCIL STORIES HERE

This is despite numerous warnings since November last year, with former Local Government Minister Mark Furner, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and even Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stepping in to rebuke the council.

Mr Hinchliffe will return to Australia in January.

The Chronicle understands Cr Loft has since made his submission, which was being reviewed by the recently appointed Mr Hinchliffe through the week.

But council's CEO Ken Diehm has slammed the State Government for their inaction.

In a statement, he told the Chronicle it was "disappointing" a decision was not made prior to the minister going on leave.

"This inaction means both the mayor, council and the community are held in limbo until he returns from holidays," Mr Diehm said.

Mr Furner announced he would issue the notice of intention to suspend on December 5.

Just days after notice was given to Cr Loft, Mr Hinchliffe was made the new Local Government Minister when the Labor government declared a victory in the State Election and a cabinet reshuffle followed.

Cr Loft took to social media on December 10, asking his supporters to email Mr Furner with letters of support.

A spokesman for the Palaszczuk Government said there was no delay in bringing the matter to conclusion.

"In accordance with the law the Minister is required to fully consider the submission from the Mayor," the spokesman said.

"The Local Government Act specifies that under these circumstances the Minister is required to "take a reasonable period of time" to consider the submission, which was received on Tuesday, alongside the findings of the tribunal and panel."

"At all times during this matter the Palaszczuk Government and Local Government Ministers have acted precisely in accordance with the requirements of the legislation, followed the specified procedures and timeframes and applied the due diligence required under the Act."

The saga is the latest in a difficult year for the council and the mayor, who is due to face court next month.

Cr Loft was arrested and charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission on November 30.

Cr Loft's lawyer said his client will fight the charges.



'Bloody legend': Footy team rallies for lost husband

premium_icon 'Bloody legend': Footy team rallies for lost husband

Mates of CQ man pay tribute to 'tough footy player'

B2B donates $26k to Gladstone schools

premium_icon B2B donates $26k to Gladstone schools

Find out which schools were the top five fundraisers.

Green light for $350m wind farm

premium_icon Green light for $350m wind farm

A renewables project south-west of Gladstone is expected to create 150 construction...