Declare or not, 'tis the question
GLADSTONE Regional Council chambers are starting to represent a scene from the notoriously humorous movie Ground Hog Day.
Councillors were still unsure about whether they need to declare a Material Personal Interest or a Conflict of Interest, and according to the council’s chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski, even the Department of Local Government wasn’t sure about parts of the new legislation.
Cr Clyde Cameron questioned whether he needed to declare a COI with regards to a development application agenda item for a shopping centre at Glen Eden as he owns a shop nearby.
Cr Cameron had questioned MPI and COI at the previous council meeting on June 6 in relation to a proposal for Calliope Service Station, owned by his brother-in-law.
Mr Kanofski said he did not think it needed to be a COI, but left that decision for Cr Cameron to decide.
During the next section of the meeting, Mr Kanofski informed councillors that the department had contacted him on Monday to discuss issues raised in The Observer articles in relation to the new Local Government Act 2009.
On June 6, councillors and officers were subjected to the first council meeting under new Local Government Act rules and regulations where councillors have to declare all material personal interests and conflicts of interest.
The result was a revolving door scenario as councillors dealt with grants to community organisations and so many councillors had to declare MPIs that the chamber was left with no quorum.
Mr Kanofski said the discussion he had with the department was about whether councillors that were in executive positions on community organisations needed to declare MPIs or not.
“They said they weren’t quite sure themselves,” Mr Kanofski said.
He said the department was seeking crown legal advice and would pass on the advice to council via a letter.
Cr Craig Butler said a letter was not enough.
Cr Maxine Brushe said the legislation needed to be changed.