Building money questioned
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is facing calls for an investigation into international flights and accommodation donated by developers.
Cr Tate has listed return flights to China and accommodation on the public interests register, as a gift from Hickey Management.
Friend of the mayor Tony Hickey is a spokesperson for a high-rise development at Surfers Paradise being built by Chinese company Forise Holdings.
Cr Tate took the trip to Beijing to help launch the Forise development.
When asked previously about who paid for the trip, Cr Tate said it was a private trip.
Updates to the registry did not include the date of the travel, or the value of the flights and accommodation, and Cr Tate has not been answering media questions about it.
Gold Coast solicitor Deborah Kelly says she has some concerns about Cr Tate's declaration.
“The Local Government Act requires councillors to update their register of interest within 30 days and to be very specific with the information and details that are publicly declared,” she told the ABC.
Ms Kelly said that if Cr Tate had declared the trip as hospitality rather than a gift, more details would have to be provided.
“He's really required to tell the public the purpose of his visit, not just that he had one,” Ms Kelly said.
Councillors who file incorrect public disclosures can be suspended for four years and fined up to $12,000 if it is found that they did so intentionally.
Community group Save Our Broadwater spokeswoman Judy Spence (a former Labor MP and government minister) said the public needs more information.
“I think we need to know exactly how much money this entailed,” she said.
“I think we're potentially talking about tens of thousands of dollars in hospitality if he flew over first class, if he stayed in very expensive hotels.”
Ms Spence conceded she had accepted small gifts while in office.
“You accept a bunch of flowers, you accept some chocolates, you might accept some tickets to a box at the footy,” she said, but claimed she had turned down other offers.
“I have been offered tickets to very VIP events in Australia which were excessive — it's about knowing where to draw the line,” she said.
Queensland’s local government department says it has not received any complaints about Cr Tate's donation disclosure.