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23 May 2013
Queensland councils have questioned whether they must abide by recommendations of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.
Around a third of the inquiry’s 177 recommendations relate to councils, and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said earlier this year that his government “will fully implement everything which it is responsible for, and work in co-operation with local councils to deliver improved flood outcomes across the state”.
However, speakers at the fourth annual Local Government Disaster Management Conference in Ipswich last week questioned whether they are obliged to abide by the commission’s recommendations.
The conference included a panel discussion on the commission’s findings and the likely fallout for councils.
The discussion included input from local lawyers, the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) and various local authority representatives.
King & Company partner Terry Law, who represented the LGAQ at the inquiry, says questions were asked about whether councils would be liable if they did not respond to the commission’s recommendations.
“Words such as ‘councils should consider’ and ‘councils with resources allowing’ are non-mandatory and softly worded,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
“They are different to ‘this council must’.
“It’s impossible to have one size fits all – all councils are different.”
Mr Law says it is important to remember the commission’s recommendations are just that – recommendations.
“My view is that this is a starting point for discussion between the state government and councils to formulate policies. They are recommendations.”
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