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