Council of Ipswich votes to undo controversial name Paul Pisasale Bridge, councilor apologizes

Ipswich council will reverse a decision to rename a bridge and road after convicted sex offender and former mayor Paul Pisasale.

City Council voted last year to remove signage from the Paul Pisasale Bridge in Springfield, as well as Pisasale Drive in Yamanto, which is said to have been named after his parents.

However, Pisasale’s former deputy councilor Paul Tully moved on Thursday to rename the street and bridge after the disgraced mayor and gained the support of five of the nine councilors.

On Monday afternoon, one of the five apologized for his decision.

Ipswich councilor Russell Milligan apologizes for his vote and says he was wrong to support the restoration of the former mayor’s name.Delivered: Ipswich City Council

In a statement Monday afternoon, Councilor Russell Milligan said he planned to work with his colleagues who voted against the move to revoke the decision.

“I offer my unconditional apologies without reservation to anyone who has been the victim of a crime, in particular sexual assault and in particular, to anyone who has been the victim of the crimes committed by the former Mayor of Ipswich, Mr Paul Pisasale.”

On Monday afternoon, Mayor Teresa Harding and councilors Marnie Doyle, Andrew Fechner and Kate Kunzelmann — who voted against Thursday’s decision — called for a special council meeting next week.

Headshot of Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding on a street in the Ipswich business district, west of Brisbane.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding was outraged by the decision.ABC News: Baz Ruddick

The joint statement read:

“Our residents across the city reacted immediately to this council’s decision last week. They were outraged and deeply disappointed by the decision.

“The sentiment was also shared by many community leaders in our state, who have come out publicly to condemn the decisions.

“All councilors will now have to decide whether they intend to continue honoring a man convicted of serious crimes, including sex crimes, or whether they will listen to the community and reverse their decision.”

Cr Milligan’s decision means the majority of councilors support the repeal, and the bridge and road will not be restored in recognition of the disgraced mayor.

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