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Qld minister quits over unpaid bills

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Queensland's Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson has resigned from cabinet over an unpaid car registration after the Labor party paid her near-$8000 overdue council rates bill.

Ms Donaldson on Thursday told parliament her first oversight was not deliberate and apologised to both the Bundaberg City Council and her constituents over the $7890 bill.

It later emerged the Queensland branch of the Labor party had footed the bill and Ms Donaldson said she intended to repay the favour next week.

Late on Thursday evening she issued a statement of resignation, saying she had realised her vehicle registration had lapsed last week and she had driven the car since.

"Clearly this does not meet the high standards set by the Premier for all members of her government," Ms Donaldson's statement said.

She thanked departmental and ministerial staff and promised to continue representing her Bundaberg electorate.

"I have enjoyed my time as Minister and look forward to supporting the good work of the government for the people of our state," Ms Donaldson said.

The Bundaberg MP had previously offered an unreserved apology, admitting there was no excuse.

The Liberal National Party (LNP) then used question time to pressure Ms Donaldson to admit whether there were other unpaid bills.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who described the oversight as "frankly unacceptable", nevertheless defended her minister.

"If there are any (other debts), and you have them, please let us know," she replied to an opposition question.

Ms Donaldson earns more than $320,000 a year and reportedly hadn't paid rates on her home for more than three years.

The council had voted to sell the properties of several residents with years worth of unpaid rates.

Ms Donaldson's resignation comes at a bad time for the minority Palaszczuk government, which is already facing ongoing pressure to sack Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe over the train driver shortage that has caused headaches within Queensland Rail.

A spokesman for the premier said she would take her time and make a measured and responsible decision.

It was expected there would only be minimal changes to cabinet.

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