Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

Watchdog says it's council’s call to release bullying report

The Crime and Corruption Commission says it's up to Sunshine Coast Council to decide whether or not it can release details of the investigation into allegations of bullying within the organisation.

Earlier this week Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was unsure whether any of the report could be released, as it had been to the commission and was regarded as a public interest disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

He said the report included evidence from a variety of people who did so on the basis, as they understood through the commission, that they would remain anonymous.

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Cr Jamieson said the law did not permit him to break their identity, and there was "very little of it (report) that can be released".

A commission spokesman this week said the decision on whether it was "appropriate or lawful to release details of the Sunshine Coast Council's investigation is a matter for the Sunshine Coast Council".

"It is not appropriate for the CCC to comment further on these matters," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the commission had been notified by the Sunshine Coast Council of an allegation against the former CEO in May, 2019.

Ex-Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker.
Ex-Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker.

"The CCC assessed the matter and determined to refer it to the Sunshine Coast Council to deal with," the spokesman said.

"It is not appropriate for the CCC to comment on the specifics of this matter."

Cr Jamieson said the report, in terms of the investigator, was finalised, and it was now a matter for the council, which was still considering the report, to finalise it.

The allegations were raised during the tenure of former council CEO Michael Whittaker, who resigned in February due to ill health, a day after the Daily had put a series of questions to the council about the reasoning for Mr Whittaker's extended absence and the status of an investigation into bullying complaints.

Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie last week used parliamentary privilege to call for the report to be made public, citing his concerns over accountability within the council.


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