NOT AFRAID: Fraser Coast Regional Council mayor Chris Loft remains defiant after his first court appearance.
NOT AFRAID: Fraser Coast Regional Council mayor Chris Loft remains defiant after his first court appearance. Alistair Brightman

Mayor confident court case will expose 'truth'

IF A NEW Local Government minister is deciding his fate, Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft wants to meet him first.

The embattled mayor on Tuesday urged Labor's Stirling Hinchliffe to visit the Fraser Coast and speak with council staff before ruling on whether he should be suspended pending the outcome of his controversial court case.

He also remained adamant the case would provide an opportunity for the "truth" to prevail and was confident the outcome would be "positive" for council staff.

"Some of these people in the past are carrying a burden... as it proceeds people will be given the opportunity to speak the truth.

"If they are called (under oath, they will have to tell the truth."

Cr Loft's arrest last year came just weeks before the State Election.

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At the time, then Local Government Minister Mark Furner warned Cr Loft would be suspended if he could not show cause as to why that should not happen.

Mr Furner went on holidays soon after, the State Government went in to caretaker mode and a post-Labor victory Cabinet reshuffle resulted in a new Local Government Minister.

Former Local Government Director-General Frankie Carroll also resigned last year and has only recently been replaced.

Asked if he was confident he would retain his position for the duration of his case, Cr Loft said: "I really love this job... we are on the improve, we are getting it in order, we are achieving what we set out to achieve and are on track for a zero tax revenue budget.

"Mr Furner is no longer there, the (former) Director- General is no longer there but I'm still standing.

"I think it would be wise for him to come and see what's actually happening on the home ground here and talk to the staff".

Mr Hinchliffe last night told the Chronicle: "I'm assessing the materials before me and I'll be making a decision in due course."

"As required in these circumstances, Mr Loft has had his opportunity to make a submission," he said.

"I will be considering his submission as part of the decision-making process."

No matter the outcome of that decision, Cr Loft remains defiant.

He conceded the court process was not easy for him and his family but insisted "it does not consume my time".

"I've known from the start this was not going to be an easy journey... I didn't think it would be quite this hard," he said.

"Staff know the truth."

Cr Loft was also confident in the move to change staff culture under chief executive officer Ken Diehm's leadership.

"We will get it right and become the best council out there," he said.

"We're coming from low on the ladder but I tell you what, we are moving up".


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