Coun­cil to be re­ferred to state om­buds­man

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE Whit­sun­day Re­gional Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (WRRA) is re­fer­ring Coun­cil to the Om­buds­man over a lack of re­sponse to writ­ten re­quests for in­for­ma­tion.

The WRRA sent a let­ter to Coun­cil on April 8, re­quest­ing the pro­vi­sion of documents per­tain­ing to the $850k pro­duc­tiv­ity re­view and CEO Scott Wa­ters’ drink-driv­ing charge.

WRRA pres­i­dent Ross Newell said the as­so­ci­a­tion sent a sec­ond let­ter on April 29 af­ter its ini­tial cor­re­spon­dence was nei­ther replied to nor ac­knowl­edged.

At the Coun­cil meet­ing in Proser­pine on June 11, Mr Newell used pub­lic ques­tion time to bring the mat­ter up.

As per the cur­rent pro­to­col, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Matthew McGoldrick, re­sponded to this ques­tion at yes­ter­day’s Coun­cil meet­ing in Bowen, say­ing a writ­ten re­sponse had now been pro­vided and he apol­o­gised for the de­lay.

Mr Newell said the re­sponse was far from sat­is­fac­tory with Coun­cil re­fus­ing to pro­vide the documents re­quested.

He said the WRRA would now be re­fer­ring the mat­ter to the Om­buds­man and pur­su­ing the documents un­der Right to In­for­ma­tion re­quests.

“We don’t par­tic­u­larly want to dwell in the past, but the pro­duc­tiv­ity com­mis­sion re­port es­pe­cially – that was the doc­u­ment they [used to] dis­miss all the ex­ec­u­tives from the CEO down,” he said.

“The com­mu­nity has got a right to know, be­cause ul­ti­mately the com­mu­nity paid for that.”

Mr Newell has also ap­pealed to Coun­cil to en­gage with the WRRA and other com­mu­nity groups in pre­par­ing its up­com­ing budget, “be­cause when it’s all boiled down, it’s the com­mu­nity that will have to fi­nance this”.

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