Fraser Coast Regional Council Report

by Ted Sorensen
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Parliamentary Hansard  08 November, 2016

– “I rise to talk about the report on the Fraser Coast Regional Council tabled by the Minister for Local Government in the last sitting of parliament. This report is the summary of the adviser’s research into the Fraser Coast Regional Council and a final assessment of the work environment.

The report talks about the adviser talking to a large cross-section of staff of the council-about 30 staff-and I personally thank them for their input.

I remind those in the House that this has nothing to do with the mayor or councillors who carry out the municipal process of the council for the region but the administration side of council.

Under `Key findings, 3.1 Council’s culture’, the report states – ‘Most of these meetings were held off-site with few staff prepared to meet the Advisor at Council’s office’.

Imagine staff not being able to have a private interview at their own workplace with the adviser that was appointed by the minister to help them. That is crazy. The common theme from the staff was that there was a culture of control, favouritism, a lack of trust, a fear of reprisal and low morale.

Finally, and the worst of them all, was their description of the workplace as a toxic work environment. Why was it toxic? The adviser tells us that there were severe tensions within the council’s executive management team. That is not me saying that, that is in the adviser’s report and is the expert advice about what was going on at the council.

Any other workplace in Queensland would be closed down as having the potential for a workplace injury until remedies could be applied. A couple of members of staff have already lodged WorkCover claims, one as recently as this week. They have every right to WorkCover. The report says they have. Why have they? Because they work in a toxic environment.

Many employees in Queensland working in toxic environments would be asked to go home until the toxic environment was remedied. Where is the workplace health and safety assessment and what are the risks to the staff working at the council? Most employees in the Fraser Coast region would not survive a week with this sort of discovery within their operations. I know of employees who have given up hope and resigned.”

Ted Sorensen

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