The Chronicle's front page story, July 16.
The Chronicle's front page story, July 16.

CMC inquiry comes to town

THE CMC inquiry into the Chronicle's front page story of July 16, that described the latest developments around a proposed $50 million Uniting Church hospital, came to town yesterday.

Department of Infrastructure and Planning officers from Brisbane, Peter Carvon and Tim Dunn, arrived at the Chronicle office in Hervey Bay to interview editor Peter Chapman and chief reporter Toni McRae over Ms McRae's sources for the story.

Ms McRae said she could not reveal her sources as a matter of ethics.

During a half-hour interview Mr Chapman told the investigating officers that it was most concerning to be subjected to an investigation that related to a positive council story.

“The building of a new hospital is of great local interest to the community and our story reported the positive actions of the local council to try and help make it happen,” he told them.

“Now this positive story for the council is being overshadowed by a CMC investigation and that is a great pity.”

Mr Chapman also explained that the role of a good journalist was to always seek information on issues that were of high public interest.

He went on to explain that Ms McRae was the most senior reporter in the Chronicle newsroom and that her role was to cover all matters relating to council.

Her responsibility was to report accurately on all council issues and seek information from all available sources, he said.

Today the two investigating officers will speak with all councillors and some council staff over the leaks from two confidential council meetings.

If they can determine who the councillors were that leaked the information those councillors could be subject to a disciplinary hearing. Under the Local Government Act they should not have revealed information from a closed council meeting.



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