Toowoomba City Hall.
Toowoomba City Hall.

Misconduct complaint over water study dismissed

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a complaint of misconduct was levelled against him.

The complaint arose from a meeting Cr Antonio convened with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack to seek federal funding for a water security feasibility study in November 2020.

Details of the complaint, with names redacted, were published on the Toowoomba Regional Council’s councillor conduct register.

The Office of the Independent Assessor dismissed the matter, as the complaint “did not raise a reasonable suspicion of inappropriate conduct or misconduct”.

The complaint alleged that during the meeting, Cr Antonio pushed for the council-owned entity Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise along with a private company “to deliver that study without consideration of a procurement process, and that a representative for the private company was also invited to the meeting”.

The complaint also alleged TSBE had released a media statement calling on the Federal Government to provide funding to support another privately owned development company.

The OIA said inquiries were undertaken to “ascertain details of the meeting with the federal minister”.

“The OIA was advised that the meeting was to seek federal funding and no decision had been made about who would undertake the study, if funded,” the OIA said, adding that “it was intended that a proper procurement process would be conducted if the funding was approved.

“An employee of a private company did attend the meeting, but only due to their expertise in water and not as the company representative.

“It was determined (Cr Antonio) would have no influence on TSBE’s decision to make public statements.”

Originally published as Misconduct complaint over water study dismissed