COUNCIL: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey addressed media following a tumultuous meeting between councillors at Gin Gin on Monday.
COUNCIL: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey addressed media following a tumultuous meeting between councillors at Gin Gin on Monday. Tahlia Stehbens

No conflict of interest: Dempsey refutes Barnes's allegation

MAYOR Jack Dempsey has responded to councillor Greg Barnes's accusation that he was concealing a conflict of interest regarding the Bargara high-rise application.

At Monday's explosive council meeting, Cr Barnes was deemed by his fellow councillors to have had a perceived conflict of interest.

After the councillors ruled he couldn't take part in the vote, Cr Barnes addressed the room and said he believed the Mayor himself had a conflict of interest.

Cr Barnes tabled an unsigned letter which he alleged the Mayor addressed to the Deputy Mayor of Nanning, China that stated he was "good friends" with developer Sheng Wei. The Mayor said the allegations had no authority and council has since confirmed the letter was drafted by a staff member and never sent due to inaccuracies.

"I can confirm that the matter raised here today and the letter provided from Cr Barnes ... certainly does not comply with council policy," Cr Dempsey said.

"I'll be looking at that particular accusation that was brought forward here, and ensuring that everything is complied with properly.

"Obviously I'll look to verify what was actually sent, but I am confident that the particular piece of paper provided by Cr Barnes was not sent."

Cr Dempsey confirmed that he had met the developer on "a small number of occasions" but stated his relationship with Mr Wei had not created a conflict.

"I'm a Mayor of a regional council and I meet many people, but at the end of the day that's for others to decide," he said.

The Mayor said there were policies in place to check the accuracy of the documents and the CEO would now have the responsibility of handling internal processes.

"The most important thing is that councillors put forward motions and decide by a show of hands, and that's what happened on this occasion."