Councillors secrecy over expenses

DESPITE a number of Tweed Shire councillors earlier declaring they have “no problem” with their expenses claims being made public they have thrown a cloak of secrecy over the figures.

Not only that – they even went behind closed doors at their Tuesday council meeting to secretly discuss the issue.

Yesterday it was up to a council spokesperson to reveal the councillors had voted down a call by Greens Party councillor Katie Milne to make expense claims public.

Cr Dot Holdom led the charge to keep discussion secret after Cr Milne called for all councillor expenses to be “itemised, made publicly available and included in the next council agenda”.

The move followed revelations that expenses details are being kept secret in sharp contrast to the practice during the elected council of 1999 to 2004, when individual councillor expenses, along with numbers of meetings attended, were listed in the council’s annual report.

Asked by Cr Milne the reason for going behind closed doors Cr Holdom said she wanted to discuss information that “is not publicly available”.

“I have no problems being transparent but there are confidential questions I would like to ask,” Cr Holdom said.

A council spokesperson said the vote behind closed doors on releasing the figures was supported only by Cr Milne, Cr Joan van Lieshout and Cr Kevin Skinner.



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