Dark files IBAC complaint

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

In a rare move, a Greater Dandenong councillor has lodged a complaint against the council to the state’s anti-corruption watchdog.

At a council meeting on 11 June, Cr Tim Dark said that the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) should look into the “misuse” of council funding for “political purposes”.

He claimed that council’s community grants were used to support groups associated with the Australian Labor Party as well as support events that attack the Federal Government.

“What we see is Labor Party councillors supporting Labor Party organisations in return for favours.

“I’ve seen pamphlets, flyers, Facebook posts, messages, you name it. If you support the Labor Party, Council will support your organisation.”

Part of his complaint is a recent flier for “Friends of Labor” to support a pre-Federal Election fundraiser and volunteer sign-up on 28 April.

The pamphlet states it is “proudly supported” by a “multicultural group” which received “considerable council funding”, Cr Tim Dark said.

Cr Dark raised the issue during a council meeting debate into distributing unallocated council funds to refugee aid group, community grants and hall venue grants, and material aid programs.

Cr Matthew Kirwan urged Cr Dark should report any cases to IBAC since his allegations were “hurtful” to groups.

“Community groups have people of a variety of political persuasions and political beliefs, and I am not aware of any discrimination against any of them.”

Cr Dark responded that “this is not a threat”.

“I got some information this afternoon that will be forwarded to IBAC straightaway.”

Mayor Roz Blades later told Star News she “didn’t know what to make of” the allegations.

“In all my years on the municipality and four terms as mayor, that’s the first time I’ve heard of a councillor wanting to complain to IBAC.

“I didn’t know what he meant.”

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