CMC probes claims against Cairns Regional Councillor Alan Blake
It is the second misconduct complaint made against Cairns Regional Council members this year, with the state’s watchdog now in the final stages of a similar case involving northern beaches councillor Sno Bonneau.
While the unionists who raised the alarm over Cr Blake’s dealings insisted they were acting in the public interest, the councillor said he was the victim a politically-motivated campaign."This vexatious complaint is driven by Val’s failed Cairns First teammates," Cr Blake said, referring to Mayor Val Schier’s ticket at the last election."Because I distaste her politics and her approach to running this city, I have been subjected to yet another vexatious attempt to bring me down at the ratepayers’ expense."
The complaint was lodged with the council by resident and Transport Workers Union negotiator Janine Aitken, who unsuccessfully ran in the last council election. She urged the council chief executive, Lyn Russell, to forward the matter to the CMC because Cr Blake had apparently failed to declare a financial interest in at least 14 votes that had gone before the council since 2008.
Ms Aitken claimed Cr Blake had repeatedly cast his vote in favour of company directors and property developers who donated thousands of dollars to his 2008 election campaign. The CMC confirmed it had received the matter and was assessing what action would be taken. Ms Aitken, who was helped to gather information by Electrical Trades Union organiser Stuart Traill, dismissed claims that her complaint against Cr Blake was just political mudslinging.
"Yes, he has been named, but we didn’t set out to wage war on him or anything like that," Ms Aitken said. "We were looking at totally different developments when the Alan Blake ones came up. "The fact is that there is this conflict of interest and I want an explanation."
Cr Blake said the votes identified in Ms Aitken’s complaint had occurred during a "grey period" when the Local Government Act changed the way councillors declared their interests. He said Cairns Regional councillors were confused about their obligations to declare financial interests in the chamber because they hadn’t been properly briefed