Whitsunday council were just incompetent, not criminal

Jennifer Whitney and Mike Brunker.
Jennifer Whitney and Mike Brunker.

THE former Whitsunday Regional Council wasn't criminal, it was just incompetent and spent too much, according to present mayor Jennifer Whitney and Local Government minister David Crisafulli.

No criminal behaviour was found against former Whitsunday mayor Mike Brunker or senior council staff at a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into ineligible disaster funding use and a breach of loan conditions.

While former mayor Mike Brunker said his name had been cleared, Cr Whitney said the former administration left ratepayers with a $77 million debt through its overspending.

Mr Crisafulli said the CCC finding "is not a vindication of its financial practices or the way that the flood recovery process was administered".

"They spent money that they were not entitled to," he said, referring to flood money from the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery program.

Mr Brunker claims he and staff had been vilified by the false allegations at the CCC and may take legal action in the future.

Mr Brunker said two of eight senior staff who lost their jobs had already settled with the council out of court.

"It was the expected and right finding," Mr Brunker said. "If I was a crook I would not have the strong support of the Bowen community that I have and would be (hiding) up a hollow log.

"It was my integrity (at stake) and that of very good council staff with collectively 210 years of experience who were unjustly sacked."

Mr Brunker said the investigation was about getting him.

Mr Brunker has called for Cr Whitney to either resign or be sacked because of her allegations but Cr Whitney will not be resigning over the debacle saying the former mayor had his opinion.

Taking office in 2012, she said the council's financial position was "quite grim".

"We had contracted out five huge projects, our Airlie Beach Main Street, two water and two sewerage projects. That left us in a very lean financial position," Cr Whitney said.

Cr Whitney said the council had a flood damage program overspend, which was "ineligible" and caused debt to increase to about $27.3 million.

"I think from the findings of the Criminal Commission is that they have found there is no criminal activity but obviously there has been a lack of governance," she said.

Where should Whitsunday Regional Council go from here?

This poll ended on 05 November 2014.

Current Results

They should just get on with the job and stop bickering


Jennifer Whitney should resign


Mike Brunker should become mayor again


They should start afresh with a new council


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  corruption council debt whitsundays

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