WAGGA mayor Rod Kendall has declared a “smoking gun” report into a failed Douglas Aerospace loan is likely to be made public as councillors overwhelmingly fight for its release.
Councillors have claimed transparency is the reason behind their push to expedite an external auditor’s report of the failed $2.5 million loan in 2012, but fears are growing the document is unlikely to reveal the true extent of the “damning findings”.
The report’s release is under consideration by the Douglas Aerospace Review Committee, according to Cr Kendall, who warned vast swathes of it were likely to be withheld.
“I expect this month it will be decided upon,” he said.
“I don’t expect it to be a public report in full … We need to be very mindful of due process, but there’s no intention to hide behind that.”
Cr Yvonne Braid said it was critical the ratepayer came first, saying “they deserve to know what’s going on”.
Cr Andrew Negline said councillors had agreed in principle to release the report “through the eyes of the mayor”.
Cr Alan Brown said he would be “interested in releasing an adapted form”, while Cr Garry Hiscock maintained the public had the right to know, but conceded findings should not be released in full to protect identities.
Cr Greg Conkey confirmed the report would be released “in the fairness of time”, but not the contents which were restricted by commercial in-confidence.
An unnamed councillor labelled the report “damning”. “If we continue to bury facts, we’re continuing to mislead the community,” he said. “The sooner we get an acting general manager, the sooner it will unravel.”
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