UNDER INVESTIGATION: Independent Assessor, Kathleen Florian confirmed her office was investigating Bundaberg councillors over the handling of the Jewel Bargara saga.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Independent Assessor, Kathleen Florian confirmed her office was investigating Bundaberg councillors over the handling of the Jewel Bargara saga. Mike Knott BUN020419BRC1

Councillors under investigation over Jewel saga

BUNDABERG Regional Council's elected representatives have become the latest to be investigated by a new body set up to look at councillor complaints.

Independent Assessor, Kathleen Florian confirmed her office was investigating Bundaberg councillors over the handling of the Jewel Bargara saga.

Questions have been raised by the process which saw the controversial development approved via a deemed approval, before it was called in by the State Government.

"The OIA can confirm it is investigating a complaint referred by the CCC relating to the conduct of Bundaberg councillors and the Bargara Jewel development," Ms Florian said. "The OIA does not investigate council decisions, only complaints relating to the conduct of elected councillors. It does not investigate council staff."

Ms Florian's comments came after the Crime and Corruption Commission confirmed it had passed on matters regarding Bundaberg Regional Council and the handling of the Bargara Jewel development to the OIA.

"The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has assessed this matter and determined to refer it to the Office of the Independent Assessor to deal with, subject to the CCC's monitoring. As this matter remains ongoing, it not appropriate to comment further," a CCC spokesperson said in a statement.

The matter had been referred to the CCC by the Queensland Government.

Yesterday a Bundaberg Regional Council spokesman said it wasn't "surprising", given the number of complaints the OIA has received from the Wide Bay Burnett.

"The Independent Assessor recently announced the office had received almost 600 complaints from across Queensland, including 44 from the Wide Bay Burnett region," he said.

"Based on these numbers it would have been surprising if none of these related to Bundaberg Regional Council.

"Any investigation by the OIA is a chance for all relevant facts to be independently assessed. While this process is occurring it's not appropriate for council to comment further."

The Office of the Independent Assessor was established last year, and has the power to investigate and determine genuine complaints more effectively and efficiently while being able to quickly dismiss vexatious complaints.