Council starts investigation into email leak

New Fraser Coast Regional Council sworn in - (L) Denis Chapman, James Hansen, David Lewis, Anne Maddern, Daniel Sanderson, Mayor Chris Loft, Rolf Light, George Seymour, Paul Truscott, Stuart Taylor and Darren Everard. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
New Fraser Coast Regional Council sworn in - (L) Denis Chapman, James Hansen, David Lewis, Anne Maddern, Daniel Sanderson, Mayor Chris Loft, Rolf Light, George Seymour, Paul Truscott, Stuart Taylor and Darren Everard. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

THE search is on for the person behind leaking a confidential Fraser Coast Regional Council email to state MP Rob Pyne.

The Chronicle can confirm the investigation was launched after the Cairns MP tabled an email dated May 23 alleging $170 million of ratepayer money was stashed in secret accounts, among a number of other claims.

The email leak is the latest in a series of scandals which has plagued the council in recent months. Last month the Crime and Corruption Commission announced they would start investigating "allegations of corrupt conduct" within the council. Newly appointed council CEO Ken Diehm confirmed there was an investigation to find the leak and said he was more concerned for "the well-being of my staff".

"I don't understand the motives for releasing the information and doubt if Mr Pyne appreciates, or understands, the negative impact his actions are having on the psychological well-being of my staff," Mr Diehm said.

"They have had to endure months of public ridicule, uncertainty, and turmoil for matters that they have had no control over.

"The continued media attention is simply not fair on them and should stop so that we can get on with rebuilding the organisation and addressing the matters that Mr Pyne has publicly raised."

The council has taken steps to address concerns in the email since it was sent, along with a raft of recommendations outlined in an organisational review.

Mr Pyne has been hot on the council's radar since tabling the council's organisational review in parliament as a public interest disclosure in May.

The report revealed the extent of dysfunction within the council, including details of staff experiencing significant risk of burnout and concerns about "psychological safety".

Councillors voted 7-4 on May 29 to refer Mr Pyne to the parliamentary ethics committee for the leak.

His recent conduct raised concerns with councillor David Lewis, who said the comments "don't help to resolve current problems".

"It's quite inappropriate; the confidential material that is being leaked, and he's trying to dress it up as a PID," Cr Lewis said.

"Mr Pyne, as a member of parliament, doesn't have a role in dealing with the matter.

"Tabling it in parliament is not part of his function." Cr Lewis said council would discuss further actions at their Monday briefing session.

Topics:  fccouncil fraser coast rob pyne

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