Councillor Katie Milne.
Councillor Katie Milne. Tweed Daily News

Under fire for leaking documents

COUNCILLOR Katie Milne has been criticised as lacking maturity by Mayor Joan van Lieshout, following her latest leak of confidential Tweed Shire Council information to the public.

On Monday Cr Milne sent the media a confidential Tweed Shire Council report that criticised aspects of the Rally Australia preparation in defiance of a media policy adopted by councillors less than a week earlier.

Yesterday, Cr van Lieshout said Cr Milne's actions were a rebellion against her colleagues and “as a Council, we don't have any room for that type of behaviour ”.

However, the Mayor sympathised with Cr Milne, calling the media policy undemocratic and saying it had to be changed.

The pair were the only councillors to vote against the new media policy last week, but the mayor said Cr Milne had gone about protesting it the wrong way.

“All I can say is that Katie has broken the rules and violated a resolution of the Council, however, I understand the reasons for doing that,” Cr van Lieshout said.

“It is a difficult situation, but we do have to show a level of maturity as Councillors. Sadly, she has failed her fellow Councillors.”

There is a possible six-month ban from Council duties for breaching the code of conduct, but Cr van Lieshout said she hoped it did not come to that.

“I hope not for Katie, I would rather see this as a serious warning, I think she has valued input in Council.”

Councillor Kevin Skinner said the code of conduct was in place to protect the Council from possible legal action.

“I believe the public have a right to access all information regarding the Tweed Shire Council where a decision has been made, but until Council makes a decision there is a certain amount of confidential information,” Cr Skinner said.

He said Cr Milne's actions could make it harder for Councillors to represent the community.

“What could be the effect of it is that information that we need to make an informed decision could be kept from us.”

“If (Council officers) thought information would make it in to the public arena before a decision was made, they have got every right to stop giving us information.”

Councillor Phil Youngblutt was less diplomatic.

“Katie should have some bloody brains, she knows the rules and should adhere to them,” he said.

“If you continue to break the rules you can find yourself in big, big trouble.”

Cr Milne couldn't be contacted yesterday.

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