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Developer rattled campaign tin on behalf of Mayor

MAYOR ELECT: Allan Sutherland has been relected as MBRC mayor.Photo Rachel Lang / Caboolture News
MAYOR ELECT: Allan Sutherland has been relected as MBRC mayor.Photo Rachel Lang / Caboolture News Rachel Lang

ONE of Moreton Bay region's biggest developers has told the Crime and Corruption Commission he actively sought $125,000 worth of donations on behalf of Mayor Allan Sutherland.

The CCC's hearing into conduct of candidates at the 2016 south east Queensland local elections has continued with David Trask called as a witness on Wednesday.

Mr Trask told the hearing he is responsible for more than 5500 property developments in the Moreton Bay Regional Council area since 1994.

He explained to presiding officer Alan MacSporran and counsel assisting Glen Rice that he and Cr Sutherland developed a strong friendship during that time.

"We go fishing. We'll catch up for a drink," he said.

"I wouldn't say that there's any regularity to it, it's sporadic. We do try to go away on fishing trips at least once a year."

Their relationship began in 2008 when Cr Sutherland first devised his plan to amalgamate the Caboolture, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe councils.

Mr Trask said he met with multiple mayoral candidates, but decided he would support Cr Sutherland through donations.

"He was the only person who had a plan for how to amalgamate three councils together and continue a business as usual position for the council," he said.

"And given that at that particular juncture in time a large volume of our work was within the Moreton Bay region, it was beneficial for us to have someone who had a clear sight on how they saw the three councils amalgamating together."

Mr Trask continued his support for Cr Sutherland throughout each successive election, culminating in 2016 when offered to pay $125,000 to the Mayor's campaign.

He instead paid $60,000 from his company Office Management Corporation and then personally lobbied other business people on behalf of Cr Sutherland.

"I would have had a conversation with Allan (Sutherland) early in the piece in regards to what he thought his election campaign was going to cost," he said.

"I seem to recall it was something in the order of $125,000.

"Initially I told (Cr Sutherland) I'd pay the whole lot ... (but) I figured I could raise funds from other people, that would lighten the load.

"(I) rang up some people that I do business with and asked them to kick the can for money."

He advised Phillip Usher Construction, Sun Vista Homes, Impact Homes and Open Corp Porject Management to donate through the Moreton Futures Trust.

Those companies donated a combined total of $53,000 to the fund, which Cr Sutherland received $118,000 worth of donations from.

Meanwhile, Division 3 candidate Kimberly James was grilled on Wednesday for failing to declare $32,155 worth of donations.

Ms James is a Labor member and told the hearing she was introduced to Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union state secretary Michael Ravbar by 'very good friend' and Labor State Member for Murrumba Chris Whiting.

Mr Ravbar and the CFMEU assisted Ms James with her campaign through donations and manpower, but she didn't lodge a disclosure return detailing the support.

Ms James said she hadn't received emails from the electoral commission requesting the documents and that personal reasons interfered with her ability to lodge them.

The public hearing concluded on Wednesday, but the investigations are ongoing.


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