Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

‘Openness from the top’: Queensland integrity report released

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

‘Openness from the top’: Queensland integrity report released


'Openness from the top': integrity report recommends greater transparency in government

Do you have a news tip? Click here to send to our news team.

Big dream: Coast sprouts one of nation’s youngest authors

At just eight years of age, Lincoln Rawlins has become one of Australia’s youngest published authors. His debut book, the colourful Sprout’s Idea, will not More

Pet dogs dead, alarm raised after spate of ‘poisonings’

Owners have been left heartbroken by a spate of suspected poisonings at one of the most popular dog-walking areas on the Coast. Over a 72-hour More

What’s On: rock band tour, musical comedy and a funny festival

Join fun-loving Beddy Rays Following the recent release of their punk rock party starter "Sort It Out", fun-loving larrikins Beddy Rays are pumped to be More

Buyers rush for slice as new neighbourhood opens

The southern Sunshine Coast’s newest waterfront community has officially opened at Pelican Waters, with only a handful of premium lots remaining. Castaways Pocket is nestled More

Locals speak up about town’s first supermarket

Eumundi residents have thrown their support behind a proposed new supermarket which would mean they don't have to travel to neighbouring towns to buy More

State-owned properties empty amid housing crisis

Tens of millions of dollars of state government-owned property is sitting empty as the Sunshine Coast grapples with its worst-ever rental crisis. Residents are being More

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed to implement the recommendations of an exhaustive review into her government’s accountability.

It encouraged “openness from the top” and said the key to integrity was a government that was “accountable in approach”.

The 131-page final report handed down late on Tuesday warned the only way to restore public faith in Queensland politics was to be “more transparent … and behave with integrity”.

Public administrator and academic Professor Peter Coaldrake made 14 recommendations.

These including reining in the access and influence of lobbyists – including an explicit ban on “dual hatting” of professional lobbyists during election campaigns.

“They can either lobby or provide professional political advice but cannot do both,” Prof Coaldrake said.

The review called for a strengthened framework surrounding ministers, their staff and senior public service officers to be continually reviewed and reinforced.

The report urged for Queensland’s auditor-general to be granted more independence and given broader scope to monitor the departmental use of consultants and contractors.

It also called for a “single clearing house” to track and streamline the progress and outcome of complaints, as well as pushing for greater protections for whistleblowers and the mandatory reporting of data breaches.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor with your name and suburb at Sunshine Coast News via:

The recommendations included that the ombudsman be able to investigate complaints against private organisations carrying out functions on behalf of the government, and for public service bosses to be given five-year contracts, unaligned to the electoral cycle.

“This review aspires to influence a cultural shift which encourages openness from the top, starting with cabinet processes and a resulting shared focus on identifying and dealing with the challenges Queensland faces,” Prof Coaldrake said.

“Any good government, clear in purpose and open and accountable in approach, should have fewer integrity issues.

“It is now up to the government to make this focus a wake-up call to support for a more open system of government.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the final report.

“We will accept all of his recommendations and we will implement them lock, stock and barrel,” she said.

“I would not have asked Professor Coaldrake to conduct this review if I did not want reform.”

The report will go to Cabinet on Monday.

“Once they’re implemented, Queensland will have the most transparent and accountable government in Australia,” the premier said.

The report noted 988 recorded meetings between registered lobbyists and ministers or officials in 2020/21, four times the average annual number over the previous nine years.

Prof Coaldrake warned the actual lobbying contacts could be up to five times higher due to a rise in undocumented lobbying.

The Premier on Monday pre-empted several of the report’s key recommendations, announcing tightening of regulations surrounding lobbyists and their level of access.

Anyone working for a lobbying firm would be deemed a lobbyist, and only be allowed to contact a minister’s chief of staff. All meeting requests must be made in writing.

Lobbyists will no longer be allowed to write “other” in the official register as the subject of meetings with ministers.

Instead, they – and ministers – will have to include more detail.

Speaking before its release, Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli feared the report would not deal with the “corruption risk that is the Palaszczuk government”.

“The Coaldrake report deals with one bin fire of the integrity issues crippling this government,” the Liberal National Party leader told reporters.

“It doesn’t address the integrity inferno at the heart of the corruption risk that is the Palaszczuk government.”