Further gripes on lake conduct
GOLD Coast City councillors are facing a fresh wave of complaints about alleged inappropriate conduct regarding Black Swan Lake.
Since the start of December, 37 complaints have been lodged on the Councillor Conduct Register. They range from allegations of corruption, making misleading public statements and bullying.
The Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) found a councillor had breached the external communication policy by making a false statement in a media release, but no further action was taken.
“The statement was inaccurate, however there were mitigating factors, and further action would not be justifiable use of resources,” the notes on the register said.
The OIA also investigated allegations that during a council meeting a councillor refused a question from a colleague along with a procedural motion, and later threatened the councillor.
No further action was taken because the conduct was not deemed inappropriate under the Local Government Act.
Most of the complaints did not require action because the matters either failed to identify inappropriate conduct or were being investigated by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
A Bulletin report in March last year said the State’s corruption body was handling up to 15 complaints involving councillors and their Registers of Interests regarding turf club memberships after council voted to fill in the Bundall “borrow pit” for a car park.
The fresh complaints include allegations that:
• Council failed to consider a petition with 40,000 signatures calling for works to fill in the lake to stop.
• A councillor “continually bullied anyone” who discussed the licence for the turf club to occupy the site.
• A councillor falsely told the media that the water in the lake was toxic.
• No consultation occurred with local indigenous families prior to decisions being made.
• A councillor lied in a public forum in 2016 by saying the lake would be preserved but later “allowed its destruction”.
Black Swan Lake Community Group leader Tammy Hogan said her members and representatives from Wildlife Queensland had complained about the behaviour of individual councillors.
“We are working with the local indigenous group,” Ms Hogan said. “There’s important information we want the OIA to look at.”
A City spokeperson confirmed council had organised for the register to be made available online after reforms to the Local Government Act. Council was not concerned by the number of complaints and said many had been dismissed or were being considered by the corruption watchdog.