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The Queensland Government is on a journey to reform the local government sector.

These reforms will strengthen the transparency, accountability and integrity of local government in Queensland. The government is committed to supporting local government and ensuring that public confidence and accountability is restored.

Legislative changes

The Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 1 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (the Amendment Act) was assented to on 21 May 2018 and amends the Electoral Act 1992 (EA) and the Local Government Electoral Act 2011 (LGEA) to prohibit the making of political donations by property developers to candidates, groups of candidates, third parties, political parties, councillors and Members of State Parliament.

The Amendment Act amends the Local Government Act 2009 (LGA) and the City of Brisbane Act 2010 (COBA) to strengthen requirements for how a councillor must deal with a real or perceived conflict of interest or a material personal interest.

The Amendment Act also amends the LGA to provide for the dissolution of a local government or the suspension or dismissal of a councillor where the Minister for Local Government reasonably believes it is in the public interest to do so.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct for councillors in Queensland sets out the standards of behaviour expected of councillors and mayors when carrying out their roles, responsibilities and obligations as elected representatives for their communities.

Introducing a new uniform Code of Conduct will assist in efficiently making all councillors aware of their obligations around the three ‘R’s – responsibilities, respect and reputation.

The three ‘R’s ensure:

  • that councillors carry out RESPONSIBILITIES conscientiously and in the best interests of the council and the community
  • they treat people in a reasonable, just, RESPECTFUL and non-discriminatory way
  • their conduct does not reflect adversely on the REPUTATION of the council.

The Code of Conduct for councillors is backed by tougher penalties for those who breach the code, including complaints that fall into corrupt conduct, misconduct, inappropriate conduct and a new category of unsuitable meeting conduct.

All councillors must declare that they will abide by this Code of Conduct when they are elected and will apply to all councils, except Brisbane City Council which has a separate Code.

The Code of Conduct (PDF, 150KB) will take effect on 3 December.

Councillor integrity training

Councillor integrity training has been developed to ensure all councillors are aware of and ready to comply with the Code of Conduct and other legislative reforms when they effect in December and will support hard working elected representatives do what they are elected to do.

The department will offer online and face-to-face training programs to ensure all councillors and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) thoroughly understand the new Councillor Complaints management system ahead of its anticipated commencement on 3 December 2018.

The interactive, online training will advise councillors of their obligations and responsibilities under the mandatory Code of Conduct and will include 12 animated scenarios which relate to the behavioural standards of the Code of Conduct.

If you are a councillor who wishes to undertake face-to-face training, please contact your regional advisor.

Office of the Independent Assessor

From 3 December 2018 the Independent Assessor and the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) will assess and investigate councillor conduct complaints.

The Independent Assessor will also:

  • provide advice, training and information about dealing with alleged or suspected inappropriate conduct, misconduct or corrupt conduct to councillors, local government employees and the public
  • prosecute misconduct offences via the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.

Previously, complaints about councillor conduct were assessed by the chief executive of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, or the council’s CEO.

The Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 established the Office of the Independent Assessor to investigate and assess councillor complaints, ensuring the process remained transparent and accountable.

The Office of the Independent Assessor will start receiving and assessing councillor conduct complaints from 3 December 2018.