The stink intensifies: Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens voted to cut red tape for commercial ventures in the Gold Coast Hinterland
Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens voted to cut red tape for commercial ventures in the Gold Coast Hinterland
MERMAID Beach MP Ray Stevens voted in favour of new laws which would cut red tape and costs to commercial enterprises in national parks after planning began for his proposed hinterland cableway.
A Bulletin search of Hansard shows Mr Stevens was in State Parliament on October 16 last year when a division was called for a vote about amendments to the Nature Conservation Act.
The Mermaid Beach MP is listed as one of 66 Government members who voted in favour of added clauses ensuring the changes were passed as LNP MPs praised the new laws.
A business search reveals Gold Coast Skyride was registered in October 3, 2013, by Nerang-based accountant Owen Patrick Yong Gee.
Searches show Mr Yong Gee and Mr Stevens, through their companies, are shareholders in the hinterland project.
The consortium, which includes Coast businessman Terry Jackman and Terry Moore, plans a 9km cableway from a privately owned site on Springbrook Road to the mountain top station at Springbrook in the national park.
Mr Stevens was appointed as one of several directors in September this year, but in early November ceased to play that role.
He declined to comment on his vote when contacted by the Bulletin.
State Parliament as early as April 2013 began debating the Nature Conservation Bill with Minister Steve Dickson explaining the changes would allow for eco-tourism facilities in national parks.
“Importantly, the object of the Nature Conservation Act is being expanded to better provide for increased recreation and eco-tourism opportunities in the protected area estate, all the while retaining a focus on the conservation of nature,” Mr Dickson told the Parliament.
Mr Stevens in October this year stunned colleagues when he announced, in the Parliament, that he was involved in the eco-tourism project and his role had been cleared by the Integrity Commissioner.
But he has declined to release details of letters between himself and the commissioner despite requests from the Bulletin during the past 57 days.
The Hansard search shows Mr Stevens has not spoken about legislation which would impact on his development.
But other Coast MPs, unaware of Skyride, including Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates, have addressed the House on the Bill and talked about how it would help neglected areas like Springbrook.
Gaven Independent MP Dr Alex Douglas believes Mr Stevens must either resign from Parliament or sell his shares if he was to remain an MP.
“He supported legislation and did not declare a conflict of interest. He clearly has a conflict of interest,” Dr Douglas told the Bulletin.
“He could totally withdraw and divest himself of his shares, which is fine. If he won’t resign and go with his project, I don’t see how they (the LNP) could endorse him.
“If it was the National Party, he’d be disendorsed. In the Liberal Party, you are allowed to do this.”