Mayor waited for trip invoice
MAYOR Tom Tate delayed declaring a private company had paid for a trip to China because he did not receive an invoice.
It was revealed last week that Cr Tate recently updated his register of interest to show Hickey Management had paid for his flights and accommodation on a trip to China believed to have been taken in August.
“Basically on my return, I was waiting for an invoice and that didn’t eventuate,” Cr Tate said yesterday, speaking publicly for the first time about the trip.
“So, I thought I’d better put it down in the register of interest.”
He said he would have been happy to pay for the trip himself out of his own pocket.
“If they had sent me an invoice I would have paid for it,” he said.
Cr Tate said he was not sure if it was Hickey Management or developer Forise that paid for the trip.
“I think initially whether it is from one or the other, I think from when I declared it, I understood it to be paid by Hickey Management,” he said.
Forise last year received unanimous support from the Gold Coast City Council to build the Spirit development, an 89-level, $1.2 billion tower on the old Iluka site, just south of Cavill Mall in Surfers Paradise.
Cr Tate said he had been unaware of who would be paying when the trip was taken.
“The correspondence shows that they are arranging it all, I didn’t drill down,” he said.
The mayor said he did not know how much the trip cost.
Under Queensland law, councillors are not required to declare a gift unless it is more than $500 in value.
Cr Tate said he took the trip for the benefit of the city.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to promote the city without ratepayers’ costs,” he said.
“For an organisation being willing to invest in future time and money in jobs in the city, I am happy to go and do that.”
Cr Tate refused to comment on the trip last week, but spoke to reporters about the issue at a press conference yesterday.
ANYTHING I DO, I DO IS AS MAYOR OF THE CITY, IF I GO INTO A PRIVATE FUNCTION AND THERE IS MEDIA THERE, I AM STILL MAYOR OF THE CITY. MAYOR TOM TATE
“Anything I do, I do is as mayor of the city, if I go into a private function and there is media there, I am still mayor of the city,” he said.
Cr Tate, who has previously privately funded his overseas trips as mayor, said no other private company had paid for his international travel. The council has paid for some.
“No, I have paid for most of them,” he said.
Cr Tate said he would continue to travel to China to build the relationship between the Gold Coast and that country’s major cities.