The Queensland Government is pursuing a rolling reform agenda in the local government sector.
These reforms aim to further strengthen the transparency, accountability and integrity measures that apply to the system of local government in Queensland.
Part of the reform process to date has included commencement of:
- a uniform Councillor Code of Conduct (i.e. mandatory for all Councillors in Queensland) which came into effect on 3 December 2018;
- the Office of the Independent Assessor.
The Independent Assessor:
- investigates and assesses complaints about councillor conduct;
- provides advice, training and information about dealing with alleged or suspected inappropriate conduct, misconduct or corrupt conduct to councillors, local government employees and the public;
- prosecutes misconduct offences via the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.
A councillor’s failure to comply with the behavioural standards of the code of conduct may give rise to disciplinary action under the complaint handling provisions of the Local Government Act 2009(LGA).
There are 4 types of contraventions of the Code of Conduct:
- Unsuitable meeting conduct
- Inappropriate conduct
- Corrupt conduct
Under Section 150DX of the Local Government Act 2009, Council must keep and publish a councillor conduct register.
150DX Local governments to keep and publish register
(1) A local government must keep an up-to-date register (a councillor conduct register) about the following matters for the local government—
(a) orders made about the unsuitable meeting conduct of councillors at its local government meetings;
(d) complaints about the conduct of councillors dismissed by the assessor;
(e) decisions to take no further action in relation to the conduct of councillors investigated by the assessor.
(2) The local government must—
(a) publish the register on the local government’s website; and
(b) ensure the public may inspect the register, or purchase a copy of an entry in the register, at the local government’s public office.
(3) However, subsection (2) does not apply to information recorded in the register that is part of a public interest disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.
Maranoa Regional Council’s register is included below.
|COUNCILLOR COMPLAINTS ASSESSED UNDER THE PREVIOUS LEGISLATION|
|Reference number||Date complaint received||Details of complaint||Summary of allegation||Reason for Decision||Outcome|
|C18 00181||Received by Office of Independent Assessor on 3 December 2018*||Inappropriate conduct by Cr Geoff McMullen||It was alleged that on 23 September 2018 Councillor McMullen shared a post on Facebook titled “meanwhile ….at council today”, the contents of which could reflect negatively on the reputation of the Council and demonstrate a lack of respect for fellow councillors and members of staff – specifically Council staff.|| |
That on 23 September 2018 Councillor McMullen shared a post on Facebook titled ‘Meanwhile…at the Council today”, the contents of which could reflect negatively on the reputation of the Council and demonstrate a lack of respect for members of staff.
Details to be provided on Council’s website as required by Section 181A and Council’s internal website for the information of employees.
* The following clarification has been provided by the Office of the Independent Assessor