The name of disgraced former Ipswich City Council mayor Paul Pisasale will be removed from two locations following a decision by council last week.
In a Mayoral Minute motion, Mayor Teresa Harding proposed the re-naming of two council-owned assets connected to the jailed politician – Paul Pisasale Bridge, Springfield Central, and Pisasale Drive, Yamanto – and committed to conducting community consultation to re-name them in line with council’s naming procedure.
“I am not proposing we re-write our city’s history and remove all references to this former mayor. However, feedback from residents and businesses suggests there is interest in re-visiting the naming of two assets that continue to be a source of embarrassment for our city,” Mayor Harding said.
“I believe our community wants to move on from the actions of the past and should be given the opportunity to have a say on how we close the book on this chapter.”
Mayor Harding said since election in March 2020, this council had made significant progress in advancing the City of Ipswich and putting to bed the city’s challenges of the past.
“In the last 20 months, we have done a lot to repair the reputation of our city and have established this council as one of the most open and transparent in Australia.
“From the launch of the Transparency and Integrity Hub, to live-streaming and documenting our decision-making processes for all to see, the appointment of our new CEO as well as the incredible progress made in revitalising our once-forgotten CBD – there is a lot for this council to be proud of.
The revitalised heart of Ipswich’s CBD has been transformed for Christmas in Ipswich into the ‘St Nicholas Precinct‘.
“However, in closing the door to Ipswich’s past, there is one issue that we have not yet resolved. Like many councillors, it is something I made a commitment to address as part of my election campaign – and something I believe is still important to the Ipswich community.
“The name of a former mayor, who has been found guilty of over 30 serious crimes, including two counts of sexual assault against a 23-year-old woman, and given a sentence of imprisonment, is etched into our public places, and is seen by many in the community as an embarrassing reminder of a previous era.”
Council’s Naming Procedure states that council may consider re-naming a road or other named facility where the name is that of a person who has been convicted of an indictable offence under the Criminal Code, or an electoral offence contrary to the Local Government Act.
Members of the community had previously suggested renaming the Pisasale Bridge after local tennis champion Ash Barty, but Mayor Harding said something more appropriate would be found for the celebrated two-time grand slam winner.
Under the procedure which was adopted when council was in administration (Aug 2018-Mar 2020), it was decided council could rename a location after consultation with impacted businesses and residents and there had to be clear majority in favour of the new name.
Council will be working on a new strategy for the renaming of these two locations in Springfield Central and Yamanto in coming weeks as it will be the first time this procedure has been used.