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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is removing her deputy Jackie Trad from all dealings with Brisbane's Cross River Rail project in the wake of her investment house saga.
The move comes after the state's corruption watchdog revealed on Friday it would not launch an official investigation into Ms Trad's handling of an undeclared investment house in Woolloongabba.
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) had been asked to assess whether it would investigate the purchase of the Woolloongabba home, which could grow in value because of the nearby rail project, which Ms Trad oversaw.
Ms Trad remains as Deputy Premier and Treasurer, but Ms Palaszczuk announced on Friday afternoon that Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones would be appointed as a permanent replacement to run Cross River Rail.
However, Ms Trad will take over as Acting Premier from this weekend while Ms Palaszczuk heads to Switzerland for discussions over Queensland's Olympic bid.
On Friday afternoon, Ms Trad apologised over the handling of the property.
"I have admitted I have made a mistake and I have also publicly apologised for this and I wish to do so again," she said.
"I want to apologise to the Premier, to my colleagues, to my community and to all Queenslanders, but most importantly, I also want to acknowledge that this has been a very difficult time for my family and I want to apologise to them as well.
"The Premier has determined that I will no longer have responsibility for the Cross River Rail project and I accept that decision.
"The Premier has a right to expect the highest standards from all of her ministers and on this occasion, I did not meet those standards."
Ms Trad had 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.
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, Ms 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.
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]."
"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."
CCC recommends new criminal offencesDespite 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.
Ms Palaszczuk said she would accept all recommendations put forward by the corruption watchdog.
"I believe it has also had an impact on my Government, and I want to reassure Queenslanders here today that everyone on my team will absolutely double their efforts," she said.
"The CCC has also made some other recommendations and today I tell Queenslanders I accept all of those recommendations."
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said Ms Trad should be stripped of her Ministerial role.
"The only job Jackie Trad deserves is to be a backbencher," Ms Frecklington said.
"Jackie Trad has broken those rules, it's up to the Premier to enforce those rules and Jackie Trad should be sacked."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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