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Councillors declare interest in Smiths Beach

21 December 2005

Jayne Rickard, The Busselton~Dunsborough Mail

MYSTERY surrounds the people behind the Independent Action Group, a group which supported two councillors at the last election.

Before considering amendments to the Smiths Beach development at a council meeting last Wednesday councillors John Triplett and Anne Ryan - for the first time this year - declared an impartial interest in the development.

In a statement read to council Cr Triplett said that in his electoral returns he disclosed support given to him by the Independent Action Group, and he was now aware that a director of a company associated with the Smiths Beach development had an association with this group.

Cr Ryan said she has an association with the Independent Action Group but was not aware of the Smiths Beach developer being involved with the group.

When contacted yesterday Cr Triplett asked whether the Mail was writing a story on the Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into a council-related matter.

When told the story was about his statement to council on the Independent Action Group, he said that he could not comment further.

Cr Ryan was also approached yesterday and also said she could not comment.

The mystery deepened yesterday when a spokesman for Canal Rocks Pty Ltd, Peter Owens, said in response to questions about the Independent Action Group: "This is not something that's crossed our radar to date. I've made a couple of calls and drawn a blank."

After the two councillors made their statement at last week's meeting shire president Kevin Douglas said he could not say anything about the issue.

A source at the shire said the Independent Action Group was based in Perth.

At Wednesday's meeting both councillors declared they would consider Smiths Beach matters on their merits and vote accordingly.

Copyright 2005 by Rural Press Ltd. This report is for information only in order to inform readers about the this Rural Press Ltd report. No charge for such use is made and the material is not being used for commercial purposes. The text has not been modified from the original report.

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