Councillor Katie Milne.
Councillor Katie Milne. Tweed Daily News

Katie to go before 'star chamber'

TWEED'S Greens Party councillor Katie Milne is in more trouble with her fellow councillors.

Other councillors have lodged a complaint against her with the council's secretive, unelected Code of Conduct committee.

But the committee is believed to have stalled on hearing the complaint, which involves Cr Milne's opposition to Repco Rally Australia, until the Federal Court case in which she yesterday sought an injunction against the rally, is finalised.

And in a further twist, one of the members of the committee, Southern Cross University lecturer Roslyn Cameron, this week suddenly quit.

The decision followed a spate of reports about the committee's secret and controversial deliberations in dealing with a complaint against Mayor Joan van Lieshout by political rivals, councillors Dot Holdom and Phil Youngblutt.

Cr Milne raised the ire of other councillors by making public an internal council report critical of the rally - even though the report has since been publicly released.

Ironically she now faces possible further action by revealing a complaint has been made against her - potentially a breach of the council's media policy which bans councillors providing to the media any information not already publicly available.

She said in an email sent to the Tweed Daily News earlier this week: “A code of conduct complaint has been lodged by all councillors against myself for releasing the council's assessment of the Repco Rally.”

She said the assessment report had since been officially released and asked: “How could anyone therefore think this report is classified 'not publicly available' ... if the report is now on the website?

“This is crazy! It seems the entrenched culture of secrecy is stronger than ever.”

Cr Milne went on to say the Code of Conduct Review had been delayed due to the “possible overlap of the court case”.

A council spokesperson refused to confirm if other councillors had lodged a complaint but insisted “procedural fairness” would be “upheld”.

“It is inappropriate for Council to comment on whether a complaint has been received by the General Manager at this stage, as it is necessary for the complaint to be investigated in full,” she said.

“If council were to publicly comment on complaints before due process has been followed, any pending investigation may be jeopardised.

“Only after finalisation of the investigation into a complaint can council release details of the complaint.”

The spokesperson said the council's code of conduct allowed “any person, whether or not a council official” to make a complaint but banned councillors from making “allegations of suspected breaches of the code at council meetings or in other public forums”.

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