'Liaisons' provoke concerns
AS the two tenders were handed in for Slade Campus, concerns have been raised over inappropriate liaisons between some councillors and a tenderer – the Slade Lives Again (SLA) group.
According to Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) procedure, elected officials were not supposed to have contact with tenderers after the tender period had commenced.
It is understood all of the councillors were invited to a meeting with Regional Development Australia (RDA) and SLA and while some attended, others refused on the basis it was inappropriate.
RDA was tabled as a possible funding option if SLA won the tender for Slade.
It is also understood four councillors were warned by the SDRC legal team not to attend a tender launch held by SLA at Slade Hall on Thursday night.
Council’s director of corporate services Andrew Ireland said there was no issue with contact between councillors and SLA members.
“The potential to influence a council decision is well and truly guarded by the fact you have nine councillors,” he said.
“And that’s what people don’t understand, lobbying one councillor won’t work.”
At the launch party, SLA president Ian Perkins urged people to continue to write letters to the paper and talk to the councillors about their wishes for Slade.
“It is a fear, we know we have three councillors who support us, so that’s 30 per cent who are committed, we know some don’t so we just have to hope others consider it,” he said.
SLA vice-president Margaret McKinnon declined to name the three councillors who had been vocal with their support but said SLA had spoken to them when the group had their vision for Slade on display at Rose City Shoppingworld.
“Seven out of the nine attended our public display, some 30% showed interest in supporting us and the others were non-committal,” she said.
Mr Ireland said there was no statutory time limit on how long the council had to make a decision about the tenders.
“I anticipate the report will go before the September council meetings to be considered,” he said.