An engineer talks to Bill Shorten about high income tax relief while the former Labor leader campaigned at Gladstone Port on April 23, 2019. Picture Kym Smith
An engineer talks to Bill Shorten about high income tax relief while the former Labor leader campaigned at Gladstone Port on April 23, 2019. Picture Kym Smith

PORT PROBE: ‘Insufficient evidence’ against GPC

THE investigation into the apparent suspension of a worker following a visit to Gladstone Port by then-Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has been closed, with insufficient evidence found.

The contractor asked Mr Shorten what Labor would do for high-income earners while at a media opportunity at a GPC facility on April 23, 2019.

Tax policy was a crucial battleground during the federal election campaign, particularly Labor's proposed changes to negative gearing and franking credits.

The Crime and Corruption Commission was asked to investigate after the contractor was allegedly suspended after publicly questioning Mr Shorten. It's not suggested Mr Shorten had any involvement in the subsequent fallout.

The Courier-Mail reported that the following day the contractor's security pass did not work and his personal items were later returned to him.

The CCC referred the complaint to Queensland Treasury, which has advised the investigation has been completed, with insufficient evidence found to substantiate allegations against officers at GPC.

State Transport Minister Mark Bailey addressed the issue in Parliament in May last year, stating he had been advised the worker's employer, Welcon Technologies, directed him to other work after the port corporation raised concerns about his conduct on-site during a media visit.

"The port corporation temporarily suspended a contract with the company while the matter was investigated."

"The contract with Welcon was reinstated and port work is available for the consultant. However, this should never have happened. Let me be clear: any person should be free to approach elected officials or candidates and have an honest conversation."

A GPC spokeswoman said it had received confirmation from Queensland Treasury that the investigation found insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations against GPC's officers and the matter was now closed. It is the second complaint made to the corruption watchdog about GPC that has been referred to Queensland Treasury.

A prior case is ongoing.

"As this remains under investigation no further comment can be made," a QLD Treasury spokesman said.

A GPC spokeswoman also said they were unable to discuss matters relating to the ongoing investigation.