BMD Group managing director Mick Power’s 33m superyacht.
BMD Group managing director Mick Power’s 33m superyacht.

Queensland council staffer resigns after ‘superyacht’ pics

THE ship has sailed for one of Moreton Bay Regional Council's most senior planning and development staff members.

Development services manager Kate Isles, whose holiday aboard a developer's 33m superyacht sparked a council review, has resigned from her position five months later.

Ms Isles was named the Australian Planner of the Year at the 2017 National Planning Excellence Awards and was Queensland president of Planning Institute of Australia for three years.

She spearheaded the council's university project 'The Mill'.

 

Moreton Bay Regional Council manager for development services Kate Isles has resigned.
Moreton Bay Regional Council manager for development services Kate Isles has resigned.

 

Ms Isles was the last staffer in that department's three most senior roles after planning and economic development director Stewart Pentland resigned in March and strategic planning manager Brent O'Neill before him.

A council spokesman said it had since hired Mike Pickering to replace Mr Pentland while "a senior staff member from within that team acting up in the manager of strategic planning role".

"Kate Isles has tendered her resignation with the CEO and the director of strategic planning and economic development, providing more than eight weeks' notice," he said.

Ms Isles triggered a council review of its Gifts, Sponsored Hospitality Benefits, Awards & Prizes policy in January following a social media post in November 2018.

She published photos of herself and husband Chris, who is executive director of planning at Brisbane-based Place Design Group, to Facebook holidaying on BMD Group managing director Mick Power's boat in the Whitsundays, that month.

 

Kate Isles posted photos of herself and husband Chris and friends on a developer’s superyacht in the Whitsundays last November.
Kate Isles posted photos of herself and husband Chris and friends on a developer’s superyacht in the Whitsundays last November.

 

Mr Power is one of the state's biggest developers and has multiple projects within Moreton Bay Regional Council through his five subsidiary companies.

The incident created a perceived conflict of interest between Ms Isles and any future BMD Group development applications.

A council spokesman confirmed at the time Ms Isles declared the holiday as a gift to her husband Chris, but also said: "Council employees have a responsibility to maintain and enhance public confidence in the integrity of council administration".

The spokesman said the council sought "external advice, which has now been received" in relation to the gifts policy review.

"We are currently working through that advice."

 

Kate and Chris Isles.
Kate and Chris Isles.

 

He would not reveal the details or who was responsible for the review.

The council is also in the process of analysing more than 1000 staff survey responses, which were handed to councillors on April 30, as part of a separate organisational review being conducted by Grassroots Connection.

Council would not comment on the progress of that review.

Kate Isles pictured with friends.
Kate Isles pictured with friends.