Mayor’s Pek­ing duck

Tate re­fuses to com­ment on com­pany-paid trip

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - LEA EMERY lea.emery@news.com.au

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.

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