Former Premier Campbell Newman
Former Premier Campbell Newman Ben Turnbull

BREAKING: Newman breaks silence over Pisasale 'lobbying'

FORMER premier Campbell Newman has broken his silence over allegations Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale lobbied him over multi-million dollar project on the Sunshine Coast.

He said nothing could be further from the truth.

The ABC reported this week Cr Pisasale lobbied Mr Newman on behalf of Japanese developer Sekisui House over their proposed six-star hotel and residential scheme at Coolum.

The report suggested Cr Pisasale got involved because Sekisui House was a major political donor.

Mr Newman, talking exclusively to the Queensland Times, said Cr Pisasale simply introduced Sekisui House executives to him.

He said Cr Pisasale told him the work Sekisui House was doing in Ipswich and said they had other money they wanted to invest in the state.

"He (Cr Pisasale) simply told me of their work," he said.

"He certainly did not lobby me, he simply made an introduction, that is it.

"I then met with them, why not, I was the premier and they wanted to invest millions in the state.

"I was very happy to meet with Sekisui House actually, they were going to spend millions on a project in an area with high unemployment."

Mr Newman said he read the ABC story this week and was still trying to work out what the punchline was.

He said the ABC did not even bother to contact him either via email or phone for comment before publishing the article.

"There are many more important issues the ABC investigations team could be investigating that have real merit and this is certainly not one of them," he said.

"I am on the public record saying I supported the proposal but at the end of the day the democratically elected council disagreed."

Sekisui House managing director Toru Abe said on Wednesday he did not ask Cr Pisasale to lobby anyone on his behalf.

He said he was disappointed to learn about the ABC's inaccurate allegations.

"The letter was introduction, I never ask anyone to do something like that," he said.

"Sekisui House has a good relationship with the Queensland Government and Ipswich City Council.

"It (lobbying) goes against the philosophy of our company."

Cr Pisasale said earlier this week it seemed some sections of the media could not accept he had passed one of the most stringent investigations any politician could face.

Cr Pisasale was the subject of an intensive Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into allegations levelled against him by a government department and other third parties.

The CCC found last year Cr Pisasale had no case to answer over the 14 allegations and cleared him of any wrongdoing.

* The Queensland Times has a commercial relationship with Sekisui House surrounding the publication of the monthly newspaper Ripley Today.


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