Burnett: Strelow finding ‘over the top’
GLADSTONE Mayor Matt Burnett has described the Tribunal decision which found Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow guilty of misconduct, as “over the top”.
Cr Strelow announced her shock resignation late yesterday following a ruling made by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.
Cr Burnett was on the same flight in an Adani-owned plane to a solar farm while on a trade mission in India and told The Observer today he was shocked at Mrs Strelow’s resignation.
“I tend to agree with Margaret and I don’t believe the flight from Mumbai, Mundra and Chennai were a gift,” he said.
“She was doing her job as the Mayor of her region on an international delegation with the premier and inspecting a solar farm.
“In a time where Australia is launching alternative energy including solar, particularly in Central Queensland, I think she was doing her job.”
Cr Burnett said a misplaced declaration was the reason why the issue was first brought into the public eye.
“She did put the flights in her Register of Interest but not in the right location, according to the Independent Assessor,” Cr Burnett said.
“Other mayors that took flights in India, myself included, put them in the right location where the Independent Assessor said it should go.
“All Margaret had to do was put the flights in her register of interest where she was told to by the Independent Assessor and it wouldn’t have been an issue.”
Cr Burnett said the Councillor Conduct Tribunal was “going over the top” in what it deemed as a gift.
“But some people will see it as a gift, because we flew in the Adani aeroplane to the Adani solar farm,” he said.
“But there was no other way of doing it - if anyone had any idea of the continent and how big it is, they would not be so quick to judge.”
Cr Burnett said he felt there could have been a better resolution to the whole saga.
“All she had to do was apologise and there wouldn’t be an issue,” he said.
“But I understand the principle of it perfectly from Margaret’s point of view.
“She didn’t think the flights were a gift, therefore she didn’t believe she had to put them on the gift register.”
Cr Burnett said he was in contact with Mrs Strelow several times yesterday, and he had urged her to withdraw her resignation.
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