Seymour CEO offended by 'lobbiest' claims

SEYMOUR Group chief executive officer Tony Bellas has rejected claims that he has ever “lobbied” the State Government and council about the proposed Fraser Straits Marina project.

Mr Bellas who worked in the Queensland Treasury for 14 years, rising to Deputy Under Treasurer, then CEO of CS Energy and later Ergon Energy before being hired by the Seymour Group told The Gympie Times that if he had any application going through the motions he would see who he needed to.

Saying, even if he did see ministers it was not “lobbying” as he was a CEO not a lobbyist.

Mr Bellas said he saw people in government about the same amount of times as those who were against the development.

And if he did it properly he didn't see anything wrong with it.

Mr Bellas said it was highly offensive when people tried to discredit him and the Seymour group with claims of “lobbying”.

He also said he didn't know when a decision was going to be made on the proposed development but hoped one was imminent.

Mr Bellas said he attended a recent community cabinet in Bundaberg, because he found out those against the marina would be attending and have deputations with the ministers present. He said he placed an application to see the ministers the same way that everyone else had to and may or may not have had the chance to speak.

Before Mr Bellas left public service and joined the Seymour Group in 2007, Seymour had tried to fight Cooloola Shire Council in the Planning and Environment Court to make the proposed marina non-code assessable.

Meantime, State Government ministers have denied agreeing they would directGympie Regional Council on which way to vote on the proposed FraserStraits Marina development.

Save Our Shores TinCan Bay president Ian Donald and other SOS members attended a communitycabinet session on August 30 attended by ministers for Climate Changeand Sustainability Kate Jones, Transport Rachel Nolan, PrimaryIndustries and Fisheries Tim Mulherin and Infrastructure and PlanningSterling Hinchcliffe.

Mr Donald said he askedthe ministers during a deputation if they would be directing council'sanswer on the marina and they then nodded in agreement.

Mr Donald also said he beleived Seymour Group CEO Tony Bellas may have had better access to ministers than he had.

In a statement Mr Mulherin said ministers could not direct the vote of councillors.

“Myagency's role, under the Integrated Planning Act, is limited toproviding an assessment of the impact the development would have onmarine plants,” Mr Mulherin said.

He said atthe community cabinet he had a meeting with Ian Donald, but SeymourGroup CEO Tony Bellas tried unsuccessfully to have a meeting during theinformal deputations.

“Because of that, a meeting with Mr Bellas was held in Brisbane on September 3, 2009,” he said.

Gympie region mayor Ron Dyne said state ministers could not tell council which way to vote on the proposed marina.

Butcouncil would take into consideration what certain concurrence agenciessuch as the Transport and Main Roads Department said.

Hesaid council was still awaiting advice from concurrence agencies andwould be going through submissions before the application went back toa planning and development committee meeting for a decision.

But he was unsure when all the information would come in.

MrDonald spoke to ministers at the community cabinet about concerns theproposed development would stop free access to the safe boat harbour.

Gympie Times

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