Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting, Maryborough Chambers -
Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting, Maryborough Chambers - Valerie Horton

'They're slow learners': Cairns MP rebukes councillors

CAIRNS MP Rob Pyne has rebuked councillors over their response to the tabling of a confidential email in Queensland parliament, calling them "slow learners."

Mr Pyne is in hot water with the Fraser Coast Regional Council after tabling the document, which makes allegations of ratepayer money being stashed in reserve accounts among other claims.

Councillors voted 6-3 to refer Mr Pyne to the parliamentary ethics committee, the Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning's office and the Attorney General's office yesterday.

Councillors Anne Maddern and James Hansen were absent, while Rolf Light, Chris Loft and Denis Chapman voted against the motion.

But Mr Pyne didn't seem worried about the move, saying transparency was a good thing.

"They shouldn't be afraid of the truth," Mr Pyne said.

"They don't like the information being released so people can see what's happening.

"If you try something once and it doesn't work, why try it again? They're slow learners."

Council CEO Ken Diehm raised concerns of Mr Pyne's conduct, saying he doubted "if Mr Pyne appreciates, or understands, the negative impact his actions are having on the psychological well-being of my staff."

Councillor David Lewis said he moved the motion to see if the council could so something about the tabling of confidential documents.

He said council should be the entity that controls its documentation, and chastised Mr Pyne for his statements.

"We really need to keep raising it, so that perhaps Mr Pyne, who seems to also be a slow learner with respect, can understand why we have this concern," Cr Lewis said.

"My concern is that this is being used to damage council or to pick a fight between... councillors."


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