Brunker calls for Whitney to be sacked
FORMER mayor Mike Brunker is calling on Local Government Minister David Crisafulli to sack the current Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney after a row that has erupted over a 2010 financial sustainability report (FSR).
Cr Whitney claims the report, provided to Council’s executives by the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) in March 2010, warned of Council’s impending financial difficulties, yet was never brought to the boardroom for all of Council to discuss.
She says had this occurred, diffe- rent decisions could have been made, particularly over the delivery of water and sewerage treatment plants, meaning Council would not be in its current level of debt.
Mr Brunker says this is not true and that Council held meetings over several months discussing water and sewerage needs and the resulting implications on finances.
He says in January 2010, then CEO John Finlay, sent an email to all councillors updating them on imminent talks with QTC over financial modelling for treatment plants.
Furthermore, he claims QTC conducted a briefing for councillors at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre on March 5, 2010 and at the Council meeting of March 10, Cr Clifford moved a motion to proceed with the delivery and operation of sewerage treatment plant upgrades.
“So the suggestion that Crs Whitney and Clifford were basically left in the dark over borrowings for the water and sewerage treatment plants is absolutely fanciful,” he said. “They’re either suffering from amnesia or they’re lying and I think it’s the latter – they’re lying.”
At yesterday’s Council meeting in Bowen, Cr Whitney absolutely refuted these allegations, saying at no stage had the FSR, in its entirety, been brought to Council.
Cr Peter Ramage said parts of the document were familiar. Cr Andrew Willcox said he was confused.
“Now [you’re saying] you’ve seen some of it?” he asked.
Cr Whitney again maintained that certain parts of the report may have featured in QTC’s briefing and Council’s internal discussions.
“But you have to read this whole report to get the whole story,” she said. On the other side of the debate, Mr Brunker is also holding firm about the fact that the treatment plants, now so contentious for their cost, were absolutely necessary for the shire.
“What people forget is sewage was running down the hill at Cannonvale and the Proserpine plant was about one pink slip off being closed down,” he said.
“So we actually had to borrow some money to build some infrastructure – shock horror.”
Minister Crisafulli is currently on leave and was therefore unable to comment this week.
Councillors voted unanimously at yesterday’s Council meeting to now make the report public.
All 57 pages of the report will be uploaded to Council’s website and hard copies will be available at all Council customer service centres and at the Cannonvale Library.