Mayor, businessman deny collusion
MAYOR Brad Carter and his electoral campaign backer, veteran businessman Dick MacNevin, yesterday categorically denied they had colluded to increase the value of land Mr MacNevin owns in Gracemere.
The possibility that Cr Carter wanted to fast-track industrial development to benefit his long-time friend was raised in the council chamber on Tuesday.
Cr Bill Ludwig used a debate on the hotly disputed Temporary Local Planning Instrument to ask Cr Carter if he had declared a conflict of interest in respect of land owned by a backer which was likely to increase in value if rezoning went ahead.
Yesterday the mayor issued a statement in which he denied knowing that any land in question was owned by an electoral donor.
"After reviewing the advice contained in the allegation, I was able to confirm that land in Douglas St is owned by an electoral donor, Dick MacNevin - held in the name of MacNevin Investments Pty Ltd for the past 40 years."
He insisted that he was not aware of the connection until yesterday and had no basis to declare a perceived or real conflict of interest because of that.
He conceded that now he was aware he would declare an interest in future discussions, but would reserve his right to vote on the issue in the interests of the region's economic future.
Mr MacNevin confirmed he had never discussed his Gracemere land holdings with Cr Carter.
"Brad is a very honest person and I have been doing business in Rockhampton for 50 years.
"There's nothing untoward here.
"Brad would not have had a clue about this block of land in Douglas St which, incidentally, has been on the market for many years."
He declared his continued support for Cr Carter.
Meanwhile Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll has expressed disappointment with the council's decision to abandon the TLPI.
She said it appeared the decision had been motivated by the upcoming local government election.