FORMER Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood has accused Acting Mayor Cr Paul Tully of failing to declare a conflict of interest when he voted to protect a group of historic trees at an ordinary council in April of 2016.
- TODAY'S TOP STORIES: Click here for all the latest Ipswich news
But Cr Tully has hit back at his former council colleague, referring him to a section of the Local Government Act which permits councillors to vote on planning scheme amendments without having to declare any conflict.
Mr Attwood, who said he was supporting Cr Andrew Antoniolli in the mayoral race, raised the issue at a QT election forum at Redbank Plains on Thursday night.
From the floor, Cr Attwood read from a question he had prepared and said: "Under Section 173 of the Local Government Act councillors have to declare a conflict of interest if they have one. Can you explain why there is no record of you declaring one at the council planning committee meeting or subsequent council meeting last April, 2016, in regards to Old Jacaranda Butter Factory at Booval, the site owned by Manos Projects, when Manos gave you a political donation for the 2016 council elections."
In response to Cr Attwood's question on Thursday night at the forum, Cr Tully said that the basis of the question was "not correct" and told Mr Attwood "you should get your facts right".
Cr Tully added that Mr Attwood had asked " a very offensive and false question".
Mr Attwood's question related to the council meeting of April 26, 2016 which adopted the Planning, Development and Heritage Committee Report of April 19, 2016.
The report included a recommendation to include 16 Jacaranda trees on the former butter factory site, property owned by Manos Projects, as character places of the Ipswich planning scheme.
Cr Antoniolli moved the report be accepted and it was seconded by Cr Tully and carried. The minutes of the April 26 meeting do not record that Cr Tully declared a conflict of interest.
Manos Projects had made a $2000 donation to the Goodna Community Fund, a fund utilised for campaign donations.
The QT spoke to Mr Attwood after the forum about his question and he said that Cr Tully had received a campaign donation from Manos before the April meeting and before the Planning, Development and Heritage report went to council.
"So he should have declared at the council meeting that he had received money from Manos and excused himself from the debate and the meeting," Mr Attwood said.
Cr Tully said he did not breach the Local Government Act and that no disclosure of a conflict was required.
Under section 173(1) of the Local Government Act 2009, the conflict of interest provisions apply if "the matter is not an ordinary business matter". An "ordinary business matter" is defined under Schedule 4 of the Act to include voting on "a planning scheme, or amendment of a planning scheme, for the local government area."
Cr Tully said he would continue to run a positive campaign and would not be side-tracked by Mr Attwood's antics.
"I am working positively in this campaign for a better Ipswich and I will not be distracted by claims that I should not have voted to protect a group of historic trees in Ipswich," Cr Tully said.
"My legal advice is that the council agenda item in April 2016 to character list 16 Jacaranda trees at North Booval under the planning scheme did not require any form of disclosure by any councillor.
"This was a council-initiated matter to protect the trees.
"All councillors are permitted under section 173 of the Local Government Act to vote on items regarding planning scheme amendments.
"This has been the law in Queensland for many decades.
"Mr Attwood is running a rear guard campaign against me on behalf of his close mate Antoniolli.
"After 16 years in local government, you'd think he would understand the basics of the Local Government Act."