By Brendan Hahne.
Edited for online by Rebecca Oakley.
The Labor Opposition says the Brisbane City Council lacks transparency because it limits access to Audit Committee information.
The Audit Committee is chaired by former Queensland auditor-general Len Scanlan and includes a number of Council officers, accountants and auditors, but no sitting councillors.
Labor’s Woolloongabba Ward Councillor Helen Abrahams says too much information is held in Council administration.
“I think any Opposition often says there is a lack of transparency,” she says.
“But with this administration the lack of transparency is really overwhelming.”
Cr Abrahams says this is particularly an issue with documents created in City Cabinet.
“Increasingly with this administration, we are seeing fewer and fewer documents coming to council,” she says.
“This is a very retrograde step.”
Fellow Councillor Kim Flesser of the Northgate Ward says there is not enough public awareness of Council’s lack of transparency.
He says the situation has worsened since the 2012 elections.
“The problem with Brisbane’s ratepayers is the only information they’re getting about what’s happening with Council is the glossy brochure once a month with the Lord Mayor’s face on it,” he says.
Meanwhile, the Council is also being accused of not doing enough to protect Brisbane’s heritage homes.
It was revealed yesterday the owners of the Hellenic House in South Brisbane were seeking to demolish the historic premises.
West End Community Association president Darren Godwell says Council has been inconsistent in its response.
“Actually it’s quite uncertain exactly what Brisbane City councillors are doing,” he says.
“Councillor Amanda Cooper at the last rewrite of the local area plan claimed that these additions and alterations were going to increase protections for character residential.”
Mr Godwell says Councillors added to the confusion surrounding area plans.
“Obviously the elected arm have objectives they try to get over and put their political spin on whatever they do,” he says.
“But on the ground you start to hear some inconsistencies.”
Council is expected to make a decision about the future of the Hellenic House by May 17.