Mayor’s Peking duck
Tate refuses to comment on company-paid trip
VETERAN councillor Dawn Crichlow has urged Mayor Tom Tate to explain why a private company with links to a developer paid for flights and accommodation on a trip to China.
Cr Tate last month updated his register of interests to show that Hickey Management paid for “return flights and accommodation to China” for a trip believed to be in August.
The Bulletin yesterday asked Cr Tate multiple questions about the trip, including its purpose and what Hickey Management paid for.
All questions were answered with a “no comment”.
“It should be answered,” Cr Crichlow said.
“He has to answer the questions. I would like the Mayor to answer all the questions with regards to the trip.”
Cr Crichlow said the public had the right to know when any councillor travelled outside of the city, especially when it was funded by a private entity.
When the Bulletin asked how many times the Mayor had travelled to China, he responded that it was all on the public record.
Council documents show the Mayor travelled to China twice during the 2016-2017 financial year – the first in September last year and the second in May and June this year.
Ratepayers paid more than $13,000 for the September 2016 trip and more than $12,700 for the second trip.
Mudgeeraba councillor Glenn Tozer said he was pleased to see the Mayor update his register.
“It reflects positively on the council when our elected representatives meet their obligations with regard to declarable gifts,” he said.
Hickey Management lists Tony Hickey as a founder and chairman of the company on its website. Mr Hickey did not reply to the Bulletin’s requests for comment.
Mr Hickey’s son, Jordan Hickey, is listed as CEO of the company.
Tony Hickey is also the local spokesman for Chinese company Forise Holdings.
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.
The register does not detail the purpose of the trip, the exact cost or when the trip was made.
Councillors are required to declare any gifts totalling more than $500.
It is understood the trip was taken in August, almost a year after the council voted to support the Spirit project. Cr Tate spoke at the Chinese launch of the Spirit project.