Councillors’ conflicts laid out as new rules enforced
Councillors spent 20 minutes discussing conflicts of interest this week to abide by new rules designed to "speed up" processes.
From a popular pub to community groups and shares in the company which owns the Sunshine Coast Airport, several councillors discussed perceived and declarable conflicts at Monday's special Sunshine Coast Council meeting.
The meeting was held to discuss the draft Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy, but due to new rules enforced by the State Government, several declarations of conflicts of interest were made.
The new rules mean when a councillor or the mayor is made aware of a potential conflict of interest they must raise it with the chief executive officer.
The potential conflict must then also be raised at the following council meeting.
A State Government spokesman said the legislative changes involving conflicts of interest and council meetings came into affect on October 12.
Under the changes councillors cannot participate in discussions during meetings when they have a prescribed conflict of interest.
"The new procedures for managing conflicts of interest are also designed to speed up the processes and reduce the risk of losing a meeting quorum," the spokesman said.
"The changes that came into effect were the result of feedback from councillors and other stakeholders on the management of conflicts of interests in meetings."
Mayor Mark Jamieson disclosed several of his declarable and prescribed conflicts that prevent him from discussing some matters.
He said his role as employer representative director of LGIASuper, which holds a 50 per cent interest in the Sunshine Coast Airport through its asset manager Palisade Investment Partners, meant he could not be involved in some discussions involving the airport.
Cr Jamieson said he could also not be involved in some matters involving the Duporth Tavern, due to MKRD units trust holding a 50 per cent share in the business.
He said he, his wife Lorrell and daughter Sommer had a prescribed conflict of interest involving a commercial property at 123 Mooloolaba Esplanade.
His self-managed super fund M&L Super Fund owns a 25 per cent interest in the property.
Several councillors and the mayor said they may not be involved in discussions at Thursday's meeting on a development application for a new shopping and medical centre at Forest Glen.
Cr Jamieson said he would voluntarily not take part due to electoral donations received between 2012 and 2016.
These include $380 from RPS Australia East Pty Ltd in January 2012, $400 from RPS Consultants in February 11, 2016 and $1800 from Jerry O'Reilly in January 2012.
RPS Australia East Pty Ltd is the planning consultant for the development and Mr Reilly is a member and ordinary shareholder of Forest Glen Village Centre Pty Ltd.
Councillor Winston Johnston also said he would voluntarily leave the council chambers during the discussion and vote.
He said Michael and Ros White, shareholders in Forest Glen Village Centre and who are likely to open an IGA in new centre, were significant clients of Your Insurance Broker Pty Ltd.
Cr Johnston and his wife Helen own a 10 per cent interest in the company.
Councillors Terry Landsberg and Joe Natoli will request councillors to vote on if they have a conflict of interest on the matter, and if they can be involved in the discussion.
Cr Landsberg said Brad Williams, of RPS Australia East Pty Ltd, had offered planning advice to WindanSea Surf Club, where Cr Landsberg is a member and president.
Cr Natoli said he was a former employee of Kunara Organic Marketplace, a business which could be affected if the development went ahead.