Coun­cil debt

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

I UN­DER­STAND that one res­i­dent shouted out at the coun­cil meet­ing in Bowen that Mayor Whit­ney and Coun­cilor Clif­ford had cost us $10.8M.

From my un­der­stand­ing of the pub­lished documents, Whit­ney, Clif­ford and ratepay­ers went pri­vately to the then Qld Govern­ment and CMC to ad­vise them some­thing very fishy was go­ing on with the 2009 flood dam­age road works.

We all re­mem­ber them don’t we, the Bowen streets of gold. Not only were they re­buffed, told noth­ing was wrong but were “outed” to the then mayor.

What is good for the ratepay­ers now is a paper trail ex­ists show­ing that Coun­cilors Whit­ney and Clif­ford did the right thing and ex­posed sub­stan­tial over­spend­ing.

With no red flag raised within the then La­bor govern­ment they charged for­ward with the 2010 and 2011 dam­age unchecked and un­hin­dered, un­til the prover­bial hit the fan and the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion were ex­posed with over­spend­ing $18m on the 10/11 projects.

Thank­fully some quick work by this coun­cil pulled up the 2012 pro­gram be­fore this was also an over­spend by $30M [Mr Barnes calls this lost op­por­tu­nity how­ever I have also heard it called de­fraud­ing Federal Dis­as­ter Fund­ing] and now, the state govern­ment has gone back and re­vis­ited 2009, and, low and be­hold, af­ter say­ing back in 2009 noth­ing was wrong, now say we over­spent by $10.8.

The only thing that may save us pay­ing this back, as Cs Kevin Collins said at the meet­ing in Bowen is that the Mayor and Cs Clif­ford told them back then, and coun­cil have writ­ten con­fir­ma­tion, that ev­ery­thing was above board.

He said this is one worth fight­ing for in court and I agree with him.

Our coun­cil should fight this, and should, in my opin­ion, win this, on the ba­sis that the then Govern­ment were ad­vised of the over­spend­ing which they ig­nored and even signed off on the process.

The Mayor and Cs Clif­ford may well end up sav­ing us this $10.8M and the cur­rent coun­cil clearly stopped us over­spend­ing an­other $30M, the only al­ba­tross around their necks is the $18M over­spend in 2010 and 2011 and if the Govern­ment had acted, when told about the prob­lems in 2009, who knows, we may not even have been li­able for that. Ross Plow­man AIR­LIE BEACH

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