Brad Carter.
Brad Carter. Contributed

Ludwig attacks council plan

MAYOR Brad Carter has dismissed a suggestion that he should have declared a potential conflict of interest over the council's plans to fast-track the rezoning of land in Gracemere.

Cr Carter has played a leading role in the application for a Temporary Local Planning Instrument to prevent further residential development on land the council wants to earmark for industrial development.

In yesterday's meeting of the full council, Cr Bill Ludwig asked the mayor if he had declared a conflict of interest when councillors discussed the TLPI application.

Cr Ludwig said he had been approached by a resident at a public meeting in Gracemere last week.

"I was asked if you declared a conflict of interest with a landowner who stands to benefit from rezoning," Cr Ludwig said.

I understand there's a landowner who would benefit who was a major contributor to your election campaign."

Cr Carter replied: "I don't believe there's a conflict."

But Cr Ludwig later indicated he was not satisfied with the answer and would be seeking further advice.

Cr Carter claimed during the debate he had been the victim of smears in Gracemere since residents became aware of the TLPI application towards the end of January.

Enthusiastic, politically motivated people had caused distress among residents by pedalling misleading information about the council's intentions, he said.

He said he had personally taken the decision not to proceed with endorsement of the planning instrument until after the local government election next month to allow for an extended period of community consultation.

And he said he was not opposed to the disputed zone being left as a rural area.

Late yesterday Cr Carter issued a statement in which he said he had acted only in the best interests of the region for future generations.

"I have not considered any impacts on individual land owners who could be associated with me," he said.

"The Gracemere Industrial Area has always been classed as an industrial area, which was the case during the Fitzroy Shire Council days and this has not changed.

"Cr Ludwig has not provided any advice directly to me in relation to his allegation and I am therefore unaware of the specific details.

"I am genuinely concerned that this is a smear campaign by Cr Ludwig to discredit me.

"In the interests of transparency and accountability, I will ensure that any allegation raised by Cr Ludwig in relation to a conflict of interest or a material personal interest is referred to any appropriate authority for their consideration and advice, now that this issue has been raised in a public forum.

"As I stated in the council meeting, I do not have a material personal interest or a conflict of interest and it was acceptable for me to participate in a meeting that resolved to request the Minister for Local Government to approve a Temporary Local Planning Instrument."

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