Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad will not be investigated by the state’s corruption watchdog over a controversial investment property purchase in Brisbane, which she failed to properly declare.
- Both the Opposition and Ms Trad reported the matter to the CCC after details of the house purchase were reported in July
- CCC chairman Alan MacSporran excused himself from the matter after he received a phone call on the topic from Ms Trad
- The CCC said it found no information to support a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) had been assessing whether it would launch a full investigation into the purchase of the Woolloongabba home, which could grow in value because of the nearby Cross River Rail project, which she oversaw.
Ms Trad failed to formally disclose to State Parliament in the required timeframe that her family trust bought the home in March, just a week before the final route of the project was announced.
The State Opposition, and then Ms Trad herself, referred the matter to the CCC after details of the purchase were reported in July.
The home in Brisbane’s inner-south was bought by family trust, VBT Investments Pty Ltd, on March 27. (Supplied: RP data)
But Ms Trad came under fire days later when she revealed she phoned CCC chairman Alan MacSporran to discuss the matter.
Mr MacSporran excused himself from the probe amid questions about the propriety of Ms Trad’s call, although he also downplayed it as “a courtesy call to let me know she was self-referring”.
At one point, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was unaware Ms Trad had bought the home, leading the Opposition to accuse Ms Trad of breaching the ministerial code of conduct by not revealing the investment to Cabinet.
Ms Palaszczuk had said she would “take action” on the matter and promised to detail this later today before she flies to Switzerland tomorrow to meet Olympic officials.
In a statement today, the CCC said: “No evidence or information was identified that supported a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct [relating to the investment house].”
Ms Trad removed herself from any decision making over the rail project amid the CCC probe. (Supplied: RP Data)
“Not all failures to properly declare and manage a conflict of interest will be the result of a corrupt or dishonest motive,” the CCC said.
“However, as a general proposition, failing to declare and properly manage a conflict of interest creates a corruption risk.
“In addition to creating a corruption risk, failing to properly declare and manage a conflict of interest undermines perceptions of the integrity of processes and creates a lack of confidence in processes and the outcomes they lead to, and the very legitimacy of projects can be undermined.
“Properly dealing with conflicts of interest is integral to the effective and efficient functioning of the public sector.”
Despite the findings, the CCC recommended sweeping changes to the way conflicts are handled, including new criminal offences for occasions when a member of Cabinet does not declare a conflict, or when a member of Parliament fails to comply with the requirements of the Register of Members’ Interests.
The CCC also found the current process for declaring actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in matters before Cabinet is not consistent with best governance practice and should be improved.
The Opposition has called for Ms Trad to step down regardless of the CCC outcome.