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Crime and Corruption Commission findings made public

Cr Mike Brunker with copies of the Crime and Corruption Commission documents now available on the Whitsunday Regional Council's website.
Cr Mike Brunker with copies of the Crime and Corruption Commission documents now available on the Whitsunday Regional Council's website.

COUNCILLOR Mike Brunker has won a fight to have the findings of a 2014 Crime and Corruption Commission investigation over alleged misappropriation of disaster relief funding made public through the Whitsunday Regional Council's website.

Following Cyclone Ului and Yasi in 2010 and 2011, the council, under the mayoralship of Cr Brunker, rolled out Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery funding to repair infrastructure.

Council chief executive officer John Finlay, engineer Gary Martin and finance officer Oliver Pring were also investigated by the CCC amid allegations of misconduct.

The allegations were made by former mayor Jennifer Whitney, who was a councillor serving in the Brunker administration in 2014.

"It was her smearing and character assassination of myself," Cr Brunker said.

At a council meeting in Proserpine on Wednesday, Cr Brunker moved a motion to receive letters from the CCC that were never made public and for the current administration to acknowledge there was no evidence to support the fraud allegations.

Former CEO John Finlay lost his job over the allegations and the motion included a clause that thanked council staff for their service.

The council staff and CrBrunker were cleared when the CCC sent back its reports in 2014, but the contents of the report remained buried.

"The council had it there in black and white but because the allegations were levelled at me, the people who made the allegations they get the report, not me," he said.

"I just got interviewed by the coppers."

Cr Brunker said he had no idea why the findings of the CCC were not made public earlier and the delay was "under investigation".

Cr Brunker could not comment on whether it would be an internal investigation.

The Division 6 councillor accused Ms Whitney of acting on a personal vendetta and was satisfied the motion to make the findings public was carried unanimously on Wednesday.

"Four years she spent trying to nail me. She looked over her shoulder for four years asking 'what can I get Brunker on?'... and of course levelled all these allegations," he said.

"There was nothing there and I knew there was nothing there, but for four years she smeared me... but the CCC report says it all, we had no case to answer."

Ms Whitney refuted claims she was acting on a personal vendetta when referring the conduct of council staff to the CCC.

"There was nothing personal about it. I was there representing the community," she said.

"The community was very concerned with what was going on.

"The councillors were very concerned with what was going on and it was a matter of finding information that should have been made available to those sitting around the table.

"It was never a witch hunt," Ms Whitney added.

View the letters from the CCC at the Whitsunday Regional Council website. 

Topics:  ccc crime and corruption commission disaster funding mike brunker whitsunday regional council

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