EXCLUSIVE: Perth mayor Lisa Scaffidi, under the cloud of a state government probe into her mining and development industry-funded travel, is planning a new trip – this time funded by ratepayers to exclusive Bunker Bay to rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of Perth’s property industry.
The Property Council of Australia has invited Mrs Scaffidi to a ‘Property Council Leaders’ conference at the upscale Pullman Bunker Bay Resort nestled in bushland behind the azure waters of Geographe Bay between Busselton and Dunsborough.
The conference is slated for May 19 and 20, and the office of Perth council CEO Martin Mileham has recommended ratepayers foot the $2100 bill to keep Mrs Scaffidi fed, watered and luxuriously lodged for two nights.
A City of Perth briefing paper explains that the conference is “an exclusive forum (invitation only) that brings together prominent industry leaders of the Western Australian property industry, senior government representatives (key decision makers) and CEOs from the wider business community”.
Contradictorily, the council paper says: “Only property developers, investors, owners and managers are invited to attend”.
Mrs Scaffidi has been invited to speak at a session on May 20 that will explore the property industry’s priorities ahead of next year’s state election.
The council briefing paper says: “The participants in the Leaders Conference are important stakeholders of the City of Perth”.
“The current downturn in the Western Australian economy has resulted in high vacancy rates in the CBD commercial property sector and the property market faces significant challenges in the coming years,” the paper continues.
“The Leaders Conference provides an opportunity to share knowledge and discuss the issues they are facing.
“The attendance of the Lord Mayor will provide an opportunity for participants to understand the City of Perth’s priorities and for the Lord Mayor to hear first-hand the issues facing the industry.”
The invitation to the conference, from Property Council boss Joe Lenzo, stresses that information disclosed during the high-powered get-together may be reported outside by those present, but the source of the disclosed information must not be revealed.
After this reporter in 2009 revealed that BHP Billiton had funded an all-expenses-paid trip to the Beijing Olympics for Mrs Scaffidi and her property developer husband Joe, the Corruption and Crime Commission last year published opinions of serious misconduct about the Perth mayor in relation to her Beijing and other trips.
A Department of Local Government probe into the travel scandal still hangs over Mrs Scaffidi’s head.
The city’s Finance and Administration Committee – comprising Mrs Scaffidi’s closest ally on council Janet Davidson, her arch political nemesis Reece Harley, and lawyer Lily Chen – is on April 19 slated to debate whether Mrs Scaffidi gets to go to Bunker Bay.
Background Bunker Bay photo: ‘Gnangarra’, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia licence.