Mackay Council wants us to stop 'crusades', emails reveal
STORIES about a new public library and Urannah Dam have Mackay Regional Council worried.
Through the Right to Information Act, the Daily Mercury obtained emails from Mackay Regional councillors, communications manager Ken Furdek and former chief executive officer Brett Heyward between October 26 and November 3.
Out of 141 pages released, 29 were fully redacted (censored or removed for legal/security reasons) and 45 partially redacted.
While the blanked out sections were believed to be in relation to the sacking of Mr Heyward on November 1, the emails showed council's concern with dialogue surrounding the new council library and Urannah Dam.
Following the Daily Mercury's front page story "Stripped of Choice" on October 26, Councillor David Perkins sent a warning to his colleagues.
The story addressed concerns the new Victoria St library would be next door to a topless bar.
"... If we let this crap from the Mercury go through to the keeper today - and this starts to build, we deserve what we get," he wrote.
"The Memorial Pool story built up to the last election because we didn't act on a building database of half-truths and complete fallacies - and the whole thing gained momentum. This library could do exactly the same thing.
"I believe we should sit down with the Mercury editor today and ask for 'equal time'."
He then rattled off a list of positive talking points about the library, which included the $500,000 apparently earmarked for two escalators and a lift and the fact "patrons would have the opportunity to sit in the open air at the front of the building".
Questioning about Urannah Dam also appeared to have Mayor Deirdre Comerford flustered, following an article in The Daily Mercury on October 27.
The story focussed on the Bowen-Collinsville Enterprise's hopes a new scoping study would see the dam built.
On October 28, Cr Comerford emailed councillors and said: "Daily Mercury is making it their crusade to get Urannah Dam front of mind and trying to get me as Mayor to publicly say that is the project which should get our support".
Communications manager Ken Furdek also touched on the project in an email to Cr Comerford on October 28.
"It appears (word removed) is not going to let this one go," he said.
"I explained to (word removed) that we have provided more than enough and answered (word removed) questions.
"I explained that this project is not a council project and it is really a Federal and State issue.
"I also explained to (word removed) that this issue has been around for well over three decades and it really is some Bowen people pushing the project."
Right to Information
On November 4 the Daily Mercury asked for all email correspondence sent by Mayor Deirdre Comerford to councillors, communications manager Ken Furdek and former CEO Brett Heyward between October 26 and November 3.
We also asked for the diaries of Deirdre Comerford and Brett Heyward for the same period.
The Department of State Development, Central Queensland University and Queensland Treasury were all consulted before the documents were released, as they were mentioned.
- 141 pages were released all up.
- 67 pages released in full.
- 45 partially released.
- 29 pages fully exempt.