The West

Councillor denies conflict allegations
Councillor denies conflict allegations

Controversial Bunbury city councillor Michelle Steck has hit back at allegations she voted on a council matter to favour her defacto partner — property tycoon Geoff Prosser.

Cr Steck was the subject of questions in WA Parliament this week when Local Government Minister John Castrilli was grilled about her vote on the redevelopment of the Bunbury Forum.

Mr Prosser heads Citygate Properties and owns big swathes of commercial property, including the Bunbury Homemaker Centre, Minninup Forum and Eaton Fair.

Opposition Local Government spokesman John Hyde asked Mr Castrilli if he was aware Cr Steck had voted on the $80 million redevelopment without declaring an interest in the matter — and if the minister would take action.

Mr Hyde also asked Mr Castrilli how many complaints had been lodged against Cr Steck with the Department of Local Government.

In Parliament, Mr Castrilli said he ‘‘was aware of Cr Michelle Steck’’ but it was up to individual councillors to declare financial interests.

Cr Steck told the South Western Times the questions were ‘‘nonsense’’ and yet another attempt at a ‘‘character assassination’’.

‘‘I have never, ever abused my position on the council to favour anyone,’’ she said.

Cr Steck dismissed the suggestion she voted against the expansion of the Bunbury Forum to protect Eaton Fair. She said she voted against the redevelopment— which was hopedto be anchored by a Myer or David Jones — because it represented a real threat to the future viability of Bunbury’s CBD.

‘‘To be honest, I think Geoff would have loved for the development to go through, he’s not chasing a Myer, but I was out to protect the CBD.’’

Mr Hyde told the Times he was worried no action had been taken against Cr Streck, despite a number of complaints having been made.

‘‘I am very concerned that people in Bunbury have made complaints on more than one occasion,’’ he said.

‘‘How many complaints have been made?’’

Mr Castrilli said his department did not disclose the details of complaints unless they were substantiated — and he had no role in the complaints investigation.

Mr Hyde said Mr Castrilli was not acting transparently on the issue and had written to the minister asking for the exact number of complaints the department had received.

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