'Attending sausage sizzles': Conflict of interest confusion
FALLOUT from the Operation Belcarra report continues to rear its head at Gladstone Regional Council meetings, with confusion still reigning over the report's recommendations.
Operation Belcarra came about following the 2016 local government elections when the Crime and Corruption Commission received numerous complaints about the conduct of candidates for several councils, including Gold Coast, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Logan. GRC was not one of them.
Gladstone region councillors took nearly 15 minutes sorting through potential, perceived and material personal conflicts of interest at their meeting this week.
Councillor Glenn Churchill said it was a case of "we don't know what we don't know".
"We continue to try and grapple with the legislation that effectively says there should be accountability, which I'm totally in support of," Cr Churchill said.
"When we come to conflicts of interest and material interests we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere, because our elected members are so inclusive in the community and are involved in many organisations and community groups.
"The State Government needs to understand this because each time we have a council meeting we seem to be spending a third of the meeting trying to understand if it is a conflict or material interest and putting it to a vote.
"I understand the importance of Belcarra and the legislation ... but we are now starting to talk about our activities as volunteers for attending sausage sizzles.
"The role of a councillor is to be involved and be part of the community ... I'll comply with the law but the law won't stop me from talking to the people I represent."