COUNCILLOR Warren Aubin has accused federal member Andrew Gee of being "the invisible man" when it comes to the Mount Panorama go-kart saga.
Cr Aubin said the federal Member for Calare had shown a lack of integrity over the issue, having spoken of his support for the project last year, and then falling silent.
Mr Gee, however, has told the Advocate he has always been supportive of a world-class go-kart track "at the right location".
Cr Aubin said Mr Gee should make his stance clear.
"The minister's report [a report commissioned for Environment Minister Sussan Ley] states categorically do not place a Section 10 [which would prevent the go-kart track being built] on that parcel of land," he said.
"Our own process at council, from the development application and the ACHAC [Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee] process, did every investigation required and everything, every single report, said build the track.
"The problem I have is that in August last year, we, the mayor, deputy mayor and I, spoke to Andrew Gee about the go-kart track and he was committed."
Cr Aubin said he contacted Mr Gee about federal grant money for the track and was told that Bathurst's allocation of the Federal Government's Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program funds would be perfect for the project.
"So we had the money to spend $750,000 towards the track for initial earthworks," Cr Aubin said.
"We were then knocked back by the Federal Government grants people who said it didn't meet the criteria.
"So we had advice from the federal member to use the money, but it didn't make the criteria, so we were left with nothing.
"Since then I've not heard a word. My question is: where are you on this?"
Cr Aubin was also critical of the report process, saying the recommendations were given to interested parties at vastly different times.
"The report [commissioned for Ms Ley] was written in May 2020, the Elders received their copy in December 2020 and council got a copy in April 2021, with two weeks to make submissions.
"The Elders have already got their solicitors to reply to the report in February.
"The minister was here in March 2021 and never said boo.
"It's just astounding ... my jaw just hits the ground.
"Council had to follow strict guidelines on everything and all the reports back point to one thing ... build the go-kart track on the top of the race track - a track which is known throughout Australia, and internationally, as one of the best in the world.
"But where are you, Mr Gee, and why are you not sticking up for the community who want this?
"He was elected to do this and I'm afraid he's not doing his job."
When contacted, Mr Gee said he was "very supportive of Bathurst having a world-class go-kart track at the right location" and he had been for years.
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"I've also encouraged Bathurst Regional Council to make grant applications for the track and other projects they prioritise," he said.
"However, at the end of the day it's up to the council to consult with the community on the best place for the track, to get stakeholders onboard, to answer any Indigenous cultural heritage issues that have been raised, and to make sure its grant applications meet funding rules.
"In regards to the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund [referred to by Cr Aubin], MPs have absolutely no say in the assessment or distribution of that fund. The Department of Infrastructure assessed council's application and determined that it did not meet the rules."
Mr Gee also said he met with Minister Ley at Mount Panorama during her visit, and said he was "very saddened that the go-kart track has become a lightning rod for community division, conflict and, in some cases, bitterness".
"We need our communities working together, not against each other," he said.
Mr Gee also said Minister Ley is the sole decision-maker on the potential Section 10 at the proposed site for the track.
"And we have to respect the process," he said.
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