UPDATE @ September 19, 8.00am: Deputy Gold Coast Mayor Donna Gates has spoken out following a controversial report aired by ABC program Four Corners overnight.
The program focused on allegations developer donations are influencing council decision making, however Cr Gates said the program “failed to tell the whole story”.
Speaking in her only radio interview with 1029 Hot Tomato’s Flan and Emily Jade with Christo on Tuesday morning, Cr Gates admitted she didn’t watch the show as it aired, however has since “had a look at it” and is extremely disappointed.
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“I don’t want to make a comment about the show at all, other than say that i’m disappointed that the city’s reputation took a bit of a belting last night, and that’s my disappointment,” she said.
“I don’t care about Donna Gates and the Donna Gates brand as much. I think people who know me know that I’ve worked really hard and that the city has been my motivation, nothing else.”
In the program last night, Four Corners revealed Ms Gates had voted in favour of at least 30 building applications linked to her campaign donors.
However, each time, Ms Gates declared a “real or perceived” conflict of interest, which is legal under Qld law.
“I dont believe that everyone involved in that program do have the best interests of the city at heart, there was a lot of self promotion in that coverage last night and it wasnt fair, there was no mention at all of any of the union donations at the last election, and there were plenty of those that werent even declared,” Ms Gates told Hot Tomato.
You can listen to the full chat with Donna Gates in the audio below:
EARLIER @ September 18, 7.20am: The Gold Coast is set to be the focus of a major investigation by ABC program Four Corners on Monday night.
The investigation is understood to delve deep into allegations that developer donations are influencing decision making.
“On Monday, Four Corners investigates how deals are being done on the Gold Coast and whether developer donations are influencing decision making,” a description of the program reads.
“The investigation examines major developments and their scale, the conduct of the local council and features a colourful cast of local councilors, developers and activists.”
According to ABC, critics say crucial decisions are being made on the coast without proper scrutiny or consultation.
Division 5 City of Gold Coast Councillor Peter Young is one of them.
“I’ve served in the council for 13 years, under three Mayors, under three Chief Executive Officers. In my opinion, this is the most secretive council. There are decisions made about things that even councillors don’t know about,” Young tells the program.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate declined to be interviewed by Four Corners, but took to the Council chamber to send a message.
“For the stupid Four Corners who asked me the question about one of the items that why did I declare my perceived conflict of interest and remain in the room, it’s because I am firmly of the opinion that I could participate in debate and vote on this matter in the public interest”.
All that glitters, reported by Mark Willacy and presented by Sarah Ferguson, will air on ABC and iview on Monday 18th September at 8.30pm.