Council is off ICAC hook

THE Independent Commission Against Corruption will not pursue a complaint against Clarence Valley Council and Mayor Richie Williamson.

The council's acting general manager, Mike Colreavy, has told councillors in a report to today's full council meeting, the matters identified in the complaint would need to be referred to an independent planning consultant.

He did not identify the nature of the "external" complaint but said it was made in August and alleged "institutional corruption within council" and related to a number of planning transactions listed in a document sent to the mayor.

He said the complainant alleged the transactions involved "abuse of process", "contempt of court", "attempt to subvert", "exceeding authority", "sham requirement", "failure to implement council decision", and "failure to implement requirements of DCP" by council officers.

"I referred the complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) after meeting with the complainant on August 8, together with the mayor," Mr Colreavy wrote.

"My referral to the ICAC sought its early advice as to what steps to take with the matter and what direct involvement the ICAC wished to have in it.

"As council's principal officer responsible for preventing, detecting and responding to corruption, my referral also suggested that, as a starting point, I would be willing to engage an independent planning expert to review the files on the matters alleged and to advise accordingly, if the ICAC considered this to be a satisfactory initial approach." He said the ICAC had responded, saying the list of transactions the complainant believed showed corrupt conduct were, in most cases, speculative and unsubstantiated.

"Noting your willingness to engage an independent planning expert to review each of the transactions (the complainant) has listed, the commission has determined not to take any action," the ICAC said in a letter to council.

Mr Colreavy said he was now engaging an independent planning expert to review the council's handling of the matter. The cost of that review has not been budgeted for.



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