PUBLIC STATEMENT

Cr Greg Barnes, Representative for Division 5

20/03/2020

The Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) has released the findings of the Councillor Conduct Tribunal (CCT) held on 26 November 2019 regarding an allegation made against me and their decision to sustain that allegation.

The allegation asserts that I revealed confidential information in a social media post in response to a concerned resident.

I maintain that the allegation is false and advise that it is now the subject of an appeal.

I’m disappointed that the OIA has released this decision in the midst of the Local Government Elections knowing full well that it could impact my reputation.

I’m further disappointed that the OIA has released this information within the statutory appeal period. I can advise that an appeal against the decision was in fact lodged on Monday 16 March 2020 which means that the legal process has not been concluded. . 

Significantly, the OIA has since released a further statement in which it admits that, in its initial statement, it falsely asserted that I was present at a confidential briefing meeting in December 2018. This is not only untrue but is a fact which is crucial to the evidence subject of the appeal.

I am confident that the evidence, which I have now provided in my appeal to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), will provide irrefutable proof that I am innocent of the allegation.

The community would be aware of my commitment to transparency, consultation and interaction. To that end, I can advise that the information provided by me to a concerned local resident in the Facebook post was first sanctioned by a senior Council officer prior to it being uploaded.

It is timely for me to now advise constituents that since early 2018, at a time when the controversial nine storey Esplanade Jewel proposal was a hot topic, I have been the target of some twenty five (25) formal complaints including some of which were made before the establishment of the OIA. 

All but one have been dismissed with one under review.

These ridiculous, vexatious and spiteful allegations have not only impacted my extended family but have also wasted considerable time and effort by all parties concerned, including those at considerable ratepayer’s expense.

To say that Isobel and I are disappointed by the actions of the OIA to issue this statement at this particular time and before the legal process had concluded, would be a gross understatement.

We ask that voters who have trusted and supported me over the past twenty years, recognise my proven honesty, integrity and devotion to my role and continue to support me into this next term of Council.

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