Thursday 21 February 2008

Minister acts on Mayor Borzi

CairnsBlog contributor and candidate for the Tablelands Regional Council Syd Walker welcomes Queensland Local Government Minister Warren Pitt's intervention, but seriously queries ‘Material Personal Interest’ exemption.

Walker's three-part CairnsBlog investigation into the Mareeba Shire Council's decision to approve the new Myola Plan, was the basis for the case that Mayor Mick Borzi had an undeclared conflict of interest at Council's recent 'special meeting'.

The New Myola Plan was approved following a closed session at Council's notorious 'Special Meeting' on January 29th, at which Mayor Borzi failed to disclose his ownership of a valuable block of land within the Myola Zone or absent himself from Council's discussion or vote.

News of the Minister’s response to complaints about the Mayor’s actions was reported prominently in this week’s Tablelands Advertiser. The Minister’s office was also good enough to reply to my own correspondence, promptly and in some detail. As these are matters of considerable public interest, I release the letter I received yesterday from the Minister’s Policy Adviser.

Download PDF Letter from Minister Pitt

While the Minister has acted promptly and it is encouraging that he has referred the matter to Planning Minister and Deputy Premier Paul Lucas, I am astonished by one aspect of the advice he apparently received.

The Minister’s Policy Adviser’s writes:
  • The Department of Local Government… has conducted preliminary enquiries into this matter and has formed the opinion that the Mayor was unlikely to have had a material personal interest while considering the Myola Plan, because the plan is a planning scheme of general application in the local government’s area. As such, the Minister has decided not to refer this matter to the Crimes and Misconduct Commission.

I'm seeking legal advice on this point. I am not a lawyer, but the English language cannot be modified at will. It seems to me the Myola Plan is not “a planning scheme of general application in the local government’s area.

It’s a plan for a small district within a very large shire.

Why does the legislation say 'of general application in the local government’s area' if it really means 'of specific application at district level'?

My doubts about this implausible interpretation of the Act lead me to question whether the Mayor's actions should not be subject to the exemption provisions of Section 6(3)(a)(v), as the Ministerial Adviser’s letter suggests. I intend to contact Minister Pitt's office to clarify this.

The plan to urbanize Myola has taken a blow, but has yet to be formally rejected.

As a resident - and potential Councillor on the new Tablelands Regional Council - I want to help ensure the new Council inherits as little negative baggage from the past as possible.

Win TV coverage Wednesday 20th February 2008


Anonymous said...

Martin Tenni, former minister and MP, this morning said on 846 that this issue was a "hatchet job" on Mayor Borzi, all related to the upgrade of the Kuranda Range Road.

I tend to agree. The reason the 'story' was ignored by the Cairns Post is that they were unable to confirm the salient facts. The reason Win Television issued an apology is because they realised they were taken for a ride by this unsubstantiated story.

I smell another lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Why do well-informed (although deeply misguided) insiders such as 'Kuranda Kid' feel the need for anonymity when exposed to open and fair debate?

Why not write an article under your own name and submit it to Mike Moore, explaining precisely how my account of these remarkable events concerning Myola and Mayor Borzi has been in error? Why not tell us who you really are and exactly how you fit into this saga?

You're a spin-master without a top, kid.