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TOOWOOMBA Mayor Paul Antonio is fighting an allegation of misconduct over his dealings with the Inland Rail project.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has referred a complaint of misconduct against Cr Antonio to the State Government.
A complaint of corrupt conduct was first made against Cr Antonio on September 24 last year, following an interview with the ABC in which the Toowoomba Mayor admitted he had paid for the design of an alternative Inland Rail route that ran along the border of his Captains Mountain quarry, and given copies of the route to Groom MP Dr John McVeigh and Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane.
The CCC did a preliminary assessment of the complaint, which alleged Cr Antonio had “used his position to influence an outcome so as to obtain a personal benefit” and found there to be “insufficient evidence to raise suspicion” of corrupt conduct.
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio has denied any wrongdoing over the Inland Rail project. Picture: Liam KidstonA CCC spokesman confirmed the watchdog had referred the matter to the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.
Cr Antonio said he was aware of the complaint and was yet to be summoned before the Regional Conduct Review Panel.
He said he was “absolutely” defending himself against the allegation of misconduct.
In the interview that gave rise to the complaint, Cr Antonio, who owns a quarry in Captains Mountain near Millmerran, said he paid $4900 to have engineers investigate an alternative route for the Inland Rail line that ran adjacent to his land.
It was also suggested Basalt from the quarry could be used to supply ballast for the railway line as it crosses the Condamine flood plain.
At the time, Cr Antonio said profits from the quarry did not depend on the route running near his property, arguing that regardless of where the rail line went, the basalt on his hill and others in the area would be used.
After first telling the ABC he gave the map to Millmerran farmer Russell Stevens, he relented under questioning and admitted he gave it to Groom MP Dr John McVeigh and former federal minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane.
The day after the interview aired, Cr Antonio reiterated he acted out of concern for established farming families.
“Yes, I paid for it, and I did so because of the highly productive farming land that’s important for the local economy.”
A Local Government Department spokesperson said the department “does not comment on matters that may or may not be under investigation”.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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