Councillor seeks damages

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser

A Shire of Denmark councillor who is involved in an ongoing legal battle with the Shire will appeal the latest Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission decision to the Supreme Court.

Cr Robert Whooley, who previously worked as the Shire’s infrastructure director, lodged an unfair dismissal claim two years ago when his employment was terminated by the previous Shire chief executive.

He won his first WAIRC hearing and received compensation for more than $40,000 but he then lost the second hearing when the Shire appealed the initial decision.

Cr Whooley has repaid the Shire a total sum of $43,893.71, which was originally awarded to him during the first hearing.

He has appealed that decision in the Supreme Court and is seeking up to $400,000 in damages from the Shire.

“We are all obliged to oppose injustice by whatever lawful means we can. I am just struggling for a bit of justice in this matter,” he said. “Government must follow process and be held to a higher standard to give people faith in the necessary accountability and transparency.” Cr Whooley told The Extra that he would continue serving the community as a councillor because the role was quite separate to the legal issues he had with the Shire. “It is something I will again discuss with the Shire president and chief executive but this issue pre-dates my election to council,” he said.

“It has been a difficult, drawn-out process which has understandably placed a huge long-term burden on my family — court proceedings are time-consuming and very expensive.

“People who are across the true background detail have been very supportive and we are grateful for that understanding.”

In the Shire’s press release, chief executive Bill Parker confirmed Mr Whooley had begun further legal proceedings and would make no further comment regarding the previous decisions of the WAIRC or the content of the appeal proceedings.

“Former director of infrastructure services Rob Whooley has commenced proceedings to appeal the WAIRC’s most recent decision which found in favour of the Shire of Denmark,” he said.

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