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Developer alleges corruption in Queensland -

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Developer alleges corruption in Queensland

Nicole Butler reported this story on Friday, July 31, 2009 12:26:00

PETER CAVE: The corruption crisis plaguing the Queensland Government is intensifying.

In the past fortnight a former minister has been jailed for taking secret payments. Police
corruption allegations have resurfaced and now a former Victorian of the Year has come forth with
more explosive allegations.

Veteran developer David Marriner says Queensland is riddled with corrupt process and lobbyists who
pressure businesses to play the game.

His claims come at the same time as another Labor mate dramatically announced he's quitting as head
of the Queensland Investment Corporation.

From Brisbane, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: Queenslanders witnessing a stream of corruption claims the likes of which haven't
been seen since the Fitzgerald Inquiry and the 20th anniversary of that landmark anti-corruption
report have prompted one prominent Australian to come forth with explosive allegations.

Former Victorian of the Year and developer David Marriner says he was advised that if he wanted to
get the right decisions out of the Queensland Government he had to play the game.

He says he was told that he'd have to engage lobbyists to get results and that the going rate was
$300,000 to $500,000.

The veteran developer says he was even approached to find a job for the former tourism minister
Merri Rose - who was jailed for blackmail.

DAVID MARRINER: I was lobbied by the Premier's office, senior official in that office before Merri
Rose went to jail. She was stepping out of the system. She was being encouraged to get a job and to
seek a job and I was told it was under the premier Beattie's desire to find or assist her into a
new employment when I was approached and encouraged to try and find a position in our organisation.

NICOLE BUTLER: Mr Marriner's damning claims arise from his failed bid to win approval to build an
international airport at his Laguna Whitsundays resort in 2003.

The developer says three days after being told by the then infrastructure minister Paul Lucas his
bid was the only compliant one, the then premier Peter Beattie announced the tender process had
been called off and that the State Government would spend $4 million on the nearby Proserpine
Airport.

Mr Marriner says the whole situation had a "nasty smell about it".

DAVID MARRINER: Now the reality is, I come up there with the best resources, the best skill base to
actually facilitate an outcome and I have to say I was welcomed and encouraged to do so. I was
encouraged by both Anna Bligh and I was encouraged by Peter Beattie. These are well documented
situations. It is not a figment of my imagination.

NICOLE BUTLER: He's also denied claims the local community was opposed to his billion dollar
project.

Mr Marriner wants his situation to be investigated by Queensland's crime watchdog.

Peter Beattie was premier when David Marriner tried to win approval for the Whitsundays airport.

This morning the now US-based Trade Commissioner was so angry about Mr Marriner's claims that he
phoned ABC local radio in Brisbane to hit back.

PETER BEATTIE: I had no contact with David Marriner. I made no suggestions to him in relation to
Merri Rose or anyone else.

I met David Marriner on a number of occasions about his proposal. He will tell you that I was a
strong supporter of this proposal. I thought it had merit but he will also tell you that I told him
it had to go through due process.

NICOLE BUTLER: The former premier went on to reject Mr Marriner's claim that developers need
lobbyists to do business with the Queensland Government.

PETER BEATTIE: That's bullshit. No-one on my staff would have said that to him .And if he's talking
to the sort of people that said that to him, I mean he's talking to drug affected people in the
Valley. No-one got to see anyone in my government by virtue of a consultant or anyone else.

I made it clear publicly on a number of occasions that anyone who employed a consultant or employed
one of these bloody lobbyists was mad.

NICOLE BUTLER: Mr Beattie has been backed up by the now Deputy Premier Paul Lucas. Mr Lucas says
David Marriner's scathing claims are baseless.

PAUL LUCAS: If this is someone who was a disgruntled developer who missed out on a project.

NICOLE BUTLER: David Marriner's claims aren't the only matters intensifying the controversy
surrounding Premier Anna Bligh's Government.

Businessman Trevor Rowe has announced he's quitting his position as head of the government-owned
Queensland Investment Corporation.

Mr Rowe is also chairman of the lobbying firm Enhance Management. It's at the centre of an
unfolding scandal over deals between former Labor ministers, staffers and the Government.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser denies Mr Rowe's resignation has anything to do with that controversy.

PETER CAVE: Nicole Butler reporting.