ASKING FOR A LIGHT: Councillor Glen Hartwig's request for councillors to be shown the long-awaited Rattler review so they weren't
ASKING FOR A LIGHT: Councillor Glen Hartwig's request for councillors to be shown the long-awaited Rattler review so they weren't "in the dark” was narrowly shot down in a heated debate. Tom Daunt

Sparks fly in council over Rattler 'review'

A REQUEST for councillors to be shown the long-awaited report into the Rattler's multi-million dollar blow-out was narrowly shot down amid heated debate in Gympie Regional Council's chambers yesterday.

Cr Glen Hartwig had asked for councillors to be shown the report confidentially, regardless of whether it was finished.

"We don't have any information. We're being kept in the dark.

"We should have some understanding about what's being looked at (in the review),” Cr Hartwig said.

Mayor Mick Curran denied Cr Hartwig's claims, saying the councillor had ample opportunity to ask staff, himself or CEO Bernard Smith about the review's scope.

Mayor Mick Curran at Rattler return launch.
Mayor Mick Curran says "good governance” is to keep those involved in the Rattler should stay at arms length from the review. Scott Kovacevic

"All it took was for you to pick up the phone,” he said.

He refuted Cr Hartwig's claim it was "good governance” for councillors to be involved.

Cr Curran said "good governance” would be that the review be kept at arm's length from everyone involved in delivering the project.

He also took umbrage at comments made by Cr Hartwig in a letter to The Gympie Times last July in which he suggested the review "wasn't above board”.

Cr Hartwig said he had approached the mayor in and after meetings and "been stifled”.

Gympie Council CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran. Gympie Regional Council
CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran. Renee Albrecht

Delivery of the report was first promised in July last year.

It was then delayed until September, and in November it was announced it would not be finished until at least early this year.

Mr Smith told councillors that work on the report had been suspended late last year, as it was tied to an ongoing legal matter over contracts for the project.

"(Reviewer) Ranbury has not done done anything on it for a matter of time,” Mr Smith said.

It would be some time before work would resume on it, he said.

Gympie councilor Bob Fredman.
Cr Bob Fredman. Renee Albrecht

Cr Bob Fredman said he was "deeply concerned” there may be a correlation between the report and legal issues, and what this meant for the report.

"Legal issues can drag on for a long, long time,” he said.

"The suspense is hurting the outcome of this whole thing.

"If the report is the truth... we have nothing to fear.”

Cr Mark McDonald disagreed with the motion, asking what was to be gained from reading an unfinished document now, instead of waiting for the full package.

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There is no immediate date for when the review into the Rattler's troubles will be released.

"I'm not going to waste energy chasing ghosts,” he said.

"I don't know why we want a report that's not finished.”

Told by Mr Smith the report was "about 60 per cent” finished, Cr Dan Stewart tried to abstain from voting and said the delay was "strange”.

Told he legally could not do that, he joined Crs Hartwig, Fredman, and Hilary Smerdon in supporting the motion.

Crs McDonald, Curran, Mal Gear and Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch voted against it.

Cr Daryl Dodt was absent due a death in the family, which left Cr Curran to cast the deciding vote and kill the motion.