Mayor Liz Innes says Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber should apologise to Councillor Maureen Nathan, after she was allegedly barred from attending a Christmas meeting.
“I am extremely concerned about the treatment of Maureen Nathan,” Cr Innes said.
“Maureen has been a member of the chamber for around 30 years, and is a woman in her 70s recovering from cancer treatment.
“To be prevented from entering the function, as I understand it, by three men from the chamber executive, shows a complete lack of compassion and is quite reprehensible behaviour.
“I think they should publicly apologise to Maureen.”
Cr Nathan did attend the dinner and party that followed the brief meeting.
The Eurobodalla Shire Council confirmed its invitation to the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce Christmas event was withdrawn on the day of the function.
Mayor Liz Innes said the council was a financial member of all of the shire’s business chambers, and provided an RSVP for herself, her partner and Lindsay Usher, the council’s director of planning.
“Council received an email on Wednesday, December 5, at 9.47am, the day of the function, from the chamber executive advising that the invitation to council staff and councillors was withdrawn,” Cr Innes said.
“The reason provided was that the executive wanted to discuss a ‘communication policy’ at the Christmas function without council staff or councillors present.”
Cr Innes said she understood the policy being discussed was a request for the chamber “to communicate directly with the director of planning and sustainability, following a number of incidents of inappropriate behaviour toward council staff”.
Cr Innes said she was disappointed when the invitation was withdrawn, but respected the request, and said the council had not made a formal complaint.
Cr Innes said the council wanted a “productive relationship with the chamber”.
“I, along with council staff, enjoy excellent professional relationships with many chamber members, including most of the executive,” Cr Innes said.
“We’ve certainly had some successes together, and I hope for that to continue.”