Misconduct-accused ex-mayor back in court
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has given evidence in a committal hearing for a mayor accused of influencing upgrades to a road on which he owned property.
Former Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland is accused of manipulating the timing and scope of a project affecting land he bought in 2010 on Paradise Road in Burpengary which he intended to develop, Brisbane Magistrates Court has been told.
Mr Dick - then planning minister - raised concerns in 2018 about "unique" major amendments to the Moreton Bay Regional Council's planning scheme.
He didn't think the department had received such a detailed and complex amendment to a planning scheme from any other council.
Mr Dick met with Sutherland as his approach was to work co-operatively with councils to get an outcome, he told magistrate Mark Nolan.
He agreed the discussion was amicable and understood Sutherland agreed the council need to re-look at the proposed changes presented to state government.
But there were "very mixed and unclear messages" as to whether the amendment package was withdrawn or not, Mr Dick said.
On September 7, 2018 Mr Dick again spoke to Sutherland to give the council "one last chance to resolve this".
Mr Dick said he was surprised and frustrated the issues hadn't been resolved since he first spoke to Sutherland five months earlier.
His department also raised concerns about the capacity of council officers to "move the process forward".
Mr Dick warned in a letter the department had powers to call in the council's planning function.
Council representatives were under pressure after Mr Dick's refusal to create a new package of amendments that would get through approval as quickly as possible, the hearing was told earlier.
The council later submitted a minor amendment as suggested by the department.
Sutherland is facing two misconduct charges after an investigation by the state's Crime and Corruption Commission.
He is accused of trying to influence the timing and scope of a council project between December 2017 and December 2018 despite having a conflict of interest.
It is alleged he pushed for the project to include a property owned by him and his wife at Burpengary.
A second charge relates to allegations Sutherland lobbied for a change in local government planning scheme amendments for personal gain.
The amendment affected service stations allegedly to potentially benefit his proposed Paradise Road development.
This offence allegedly occurred between January and May 2019.
Proposed road upgrades were part of a larger project concerning a sports complex development.
A second entry and exit for the complex upgrade was needed for both safety and traffic flow management, the court has heard.
Sutherland was stood down as mayor after being charged by the state's corruption watchdog in December 2019.
The committal hearing was adjourned until December 8.