Tens of thousands donated to City of Mandurah council candidates

Canning MHR Andrew Hastie and Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone.
Canning MHR Andrew Hastie and Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone.

TENS of thousands of dollars have been declared in donations by City of Mandurah council candidates in the lead up to Saturday’s local government election.

Last week, Mayor Marina Vergone declared $19,311 in donations for radio advertising and signage from Linda Christie, made on behalf of Friends of Marina.

The group’s ABN was registered as an unincorporated entity in August 2017, however Ms Christie is listed online to receive donations for Federal member for Canning Andrew Hastie and is State Liberal Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup’s campaign fundraising treasurer.

Ms Christie said she has been friends with Ms Vergone for years.

“(The fundraising) was not political,” she said.

“We held a sun-downer and charged a fee and raised money there.

“We are well meaning people, who are locals of Mandurah and all we want to do is have a good council that is run well.”

Mrs Vergone did not declare any political party affiliation when Community Newspaper Group contacted candidates to compile profiles.

Mayoral candidate Rhys Williams declared donations of $29,400 in September.

These included a donation from Greg Poland, head of the Strzelecki group – developers of the Mandurah Ocean Marina and owners of the Oceanic Bar and Grill – who donated $3580.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union secretary Steve McCartney donated $3025 to Mr William’s campaign.

Lane Ford dealer principal Colin Lane donated $3000 to Mr Williams and to Peel Development Commission’s Paul Fitzpatrick, who nominated for the position of North ward councillor.

Current deputy mayor Darren Lee received a donation from The Australian Workers’ Union West Australian Branch secretary Mike Zoetbrood of $500, and a $300 donation from Mr Williams.

Mr Lee is up for re-election for the City of Mandurah’s East ward.

Mr Williams would not be drawn into commenting on Ms Vergone’s campaign donation.

He said campaigns cost money and he was grateful to the people who contributed to his campaign.

“I have published every donor, whether they are above or below the $200 threshold,” he said.

“Transparency is a crucial part of democracy.”

Ms Vergone has been contacted for comment.

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