Watchdog staff cuts to affect case load capacity

CMC chief Ross Martin
CMC chief Ross Martin Rae Wilson

QUEENSLAND'S crime and corruption watchdog head has revealed the organisation will be scaled back - on the same day the government announced a review of its role.

Crime and Misconduct Commission chief Ross Martin told an estimates hearing at Parliament House on Thursday that the organisation was not immune from the government's job cuts.

He said 44 people had left the CMC since July 1 and he expected about 30 roles to be "dis-established", indicating there could be an overlap.

Mr Martin said the CMC's annual budget was reduced less than 1% but it would lose "a significant number of staff".

"By reasons which I can expand upon, there will be a disproportionately large effect on our staffing," he said.

"We expect that will mean ... real losses of capacity."

Mr Ross would not reveal whether job cuts would include senior investigators because he had not briefed everyone involved.

He said he expected to brief them on Friday.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told the hearing the government did value the CMC but it wanted to ensure it "stops being used as a political football".

He said he was concerned about the CMC announcing a review of political donations in Queensland on the same day the watchdog cleared an investigation into a Brisbane City Council developer election donation.

Mr Bleijie has engaged former High Court Judge Ian Callinan and University of Queensland professor Nicholas Aroney to review the legislation on how the CMC could continue without being drawn into political debates.

"I don't think it's in the interest of the top crime fighting body in Queensland to be doing a review of political donations and using valuable resources for that when there hasn't been an issue, with respect to that issue," he said.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk asked whether, using the historical context of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Mr Bleijie would assure Queenslanders the review of electoral donations would go ahead.

He said he would not interfere and knew he did not have an "overriding responsibility" but he did not think it was a priority for the CMC "on the back of an investigation that cleared everyone".

Topics:  crime and misconduct commission job loss

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