‘Disgraceful’: Shock over ex-councillor’s inflammatory attack
GYMPIE region councillors and staff have come under attack on social media over a controversial decision to repeal environment protection laws, with an inflammatory post by ex-councillor Dr Daryl Dodt going further than any other post.
In the lead-up to and during debate on the laws, Facebook users fired away at those involved in the discussion with accusations of falsities and questions of integrity.
A post on a Facebook page apparently run by Gympie GP and former councillor Daryl Dodt before the meeting yesterday pre-emptively took aim at those who would vote to overturn the laws introduced in February this year.
The post, which The Gympie Times has chosen not to reproduce in full, said yesterday's meeting would separate those who stand by the community's wishes, values and future vision, and others who were anti-koala and disregarded environmental concerns.
But the post used defamatory language which The Gympie Times has chosen to not repeat.
It followed a shocking drawn image criticising Mayor Glen Hartwig and the proposed repealing of the laws.
MORE GYMPIE NEWS
Staff and councillors remained under fire on the council's Facebook page throughout the 90-minute discussion over the laws.
Several accounts apparently run by former council staff members criticised council's land manager adviser Natalie Kent's presentation.
Ms Kent outlined the "flaws" and "unintended consequences" identified since the TLPIs were adopted in February 2020, and flagged concerns about gaps in the process undertaken to create them.
Several posts claimed councillors had not been given the full amount of information available, and that the presentation was unbalanced.
An account apparently run by former councillor Mark McDonald called the presentation "rubbish".
Full details of the debate around the laws' repeal will be published tomorrow morning.
After the meeting, Ms Kent denied the critical comments.
"I've only provided facts from documentation that has been provided to me by staff in the council," Ms Kent said.
She said the council was simply bringing to light some information that was not presented to councillors in the first place.
"They are the consequences. I don't know how that could be misleading," she said.
CEO Shane Gray said there had been "a number of people impacted because of this, which has brought it to our attention".
"The council is looking at putting together our reference group to get it right," he said.
When asked about the post on Dr Dodt's page, the six councillors who voted to repeal the laws rejected his claims.
Mayor Glen Hartwig called his comments "disgraceful" and "defamatory" and said they reflected an attitude that "soils the Gympie region's good reputation".
"(The poster) should apologise quickly."
Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon said he was not anti-koala nor anti-environment, and wanted to create a system where developers and the community could work together.
Shane Waldock simply called the comments "disrespectful"; Bruce Devereaux said they were "sad", and Bob Fredman said he "felt sorry for anyone saying that".
Division 2's Dolly Jensen said Dr Dodt "had a chance to be here to make a decision but he lost".
A message left with Dr Dodt's office yesterday to respond was not returned by time of print.