Australian Water Holdings donated more than $7000 to a Qld mayor, who maintains he is just an acquaintance of the company’s controversial former boss.
A southeast Queensland mayor is reviewing campaign funds he received from a controversial Sydney water infrastructure firm that brought down former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell with a $3000 bottle of wine.
Australian Water Holdings gave Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale’s 2012 re-election campaign $2000 for a dinner, $3000 for an auction night and another $2000 for a charity golf day.
“They, contributed, yes, 100 per cent,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
Mr Pisasale promised to commission an independent review of AWH donations to his Forward Ipswich campaign fund, to show everything was above board.
“The best thing to do is just do a review of what we’ve done with Australian Water Holdings … to make sure it is up front and a cloud can be shifted off this forever,” he said.
He also questioned AWH board meeting minutes, which document council staff meeting the company’s controversial former boss Nick Di Girolamo – the man who ended Mr O’Farrell’s premiership with a 1959 bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage.
“Ipswich has been shown to be at meetings where I don’t think we have been at meetings,” Mr Pisasale said.
“I’m searching all my diaries right back to 2008 and I can assure you that there’s only been a few meetings.”
AWH, which has become the subject of a sensational NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing, had been given contracts with Ipswich City Council to find solutions to water infrastructure.
Mr Pisasale said he had met Mr Di Girolamo two or three times, and described him as likeable.
“Nick, when I first met him, we had a sandwich together,” he said.
“With regards to friendship, we’re just normal acquaintances you meet along the way in business and politics.”