Gympie Mayor Mick Curran.
Gympie Mayor Mick Curran.

Mayor slams Hartwig’s Ri-Con call

GYMPIE Mayor Mick Curran has branded a proposal to ensure full co-operation with any official investigation stemming from the recent Ri-Con building group collapse as “superfluous”.

During Wednesday’s last pre-election council meeting Division 2 councillor Glen Hartwig proposed the motion “that council instructs the CEO to co-operate fully with any police investigation relating to the collapse of Ricon … and that staff be instructed by the CEO to assist and co-operate with police at all times”.

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Councillor Glen Hartwig. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Councillor Glen Hartwig. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times

Mr Hartwig said the motion showed “goodwill and good faith” in the Gympie business community and would also help staff “feel comfortable to co-operate without any hesitation”.

Division 8 councillor Bob Fredman initially seconded the motion but later amended “any police investigation” to “any official investigation”.

Division 4 councillor Daryl Dodt raised concerns that the proposal was no different to council’s “normal” approach to such a situation.

The incumbent Gympie Regional Council during its last ordinary meeting before the 2020 election, March 4 2020. From left: Glen Hartwig, Dan Stewart, Bob Fredman, Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch, Mayor Mick Curran, Mark McDonald, Mal Gear, Hilary Smerdon and Daryl Dodt.
The incumbent Gympie Regional Council during its last ordinary meeting before the 2020 election, March 4 2020. From left: Glen Hartwig, Dan Stewart, Bob Fredman, Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch, Mayor Mick Curran, Mark McDonald, Mal Gear, Hilary Smerdon and Daryl Dodt.

“I think that if we’re going to go down the rabbit hole of writing everything that we actually do into every meeting we’re going to be here for a million years each month,” Dr Dodt said.

“I think it’s a waste of time and effort.”

Mr Curran agreed, pointing out the motion had only stated what would happen “regardless”.

“This has been horrible for not only council but subcontractors who were contracted to a company who duly were awarded contracts by this council,” Mr Curran said.

He added there was “no way” CEO Bernard Smith or council staff could not co-operate fully with any investigations.

Ri-Con Contractors, directed by John Jenkins, moved into liquidation in January.
Ri-Con Contractors, directed by John Jenkins, moved into liquidation in January.

Mr Fredman commented that he was “proud” to show care on the issue.

“It may be a touch superfluous, but … I do believe that any show of care and concern is good in this circumstance,” he said.

All councillors except Mr Curran and Division 1’s Mark McDonald voted to carry the amended motion.