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Changes to the Local Government Regulation 2012 to implement the new councillor complaints system

Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform local governments of amendments to the Local Government Regulation 2012 (LGR) to ensure the new councillor complaints system is fully operational on its commencement.

Background

Details

The new councillor complaints framework provided for under the Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 came into operation on 3 December 2018. As a result of changes to the Local Government Act 2009 (LGA), it is also necessary to update the LGR.

The Local Government Legislation (Councillor Complaints and Other Matters) Amendment Regulation 2018 (the Regulation) also commenced on 3 December 2018 and amends the LGR to ensure consistency across the LGA and LGR.

The new councillor complaints system does not apply to Brisbane City Council.

Key changes

Approval of Code of Conduct for Councillors
  • The LGR approves the new Code of Conduct for Councillors made by the Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs on 30 August 2018.
  • The new Code of Conduct sets out the standards of behaviour for councillors in performing their functions as councillors under the LGA.
Declaration of office to include additional statement
  • The declaration of office taken by councillors will be modified and will require councillors to declare that they will fulfil their duties in accordance with the Code of Conduct.
  • Chief executive officers will need to ensure that the new declaration is made by any new councillors after 3 December 2018.
  • Current councillors are not required to make the new declaration.
New annual reporting requirements
  • Council annual reports must be updated to reflect the new councillor complaints system, including the new category of conduct of ‘unsuitable meeting conduct’.
  • Councils will need to be aware of what matters need to be reported under the new system and keep a record of those matters to complete their annual reports. These matters include:
    • the number of orders made in relation to inappropriate conduct
    • the number of decisions made by the Independent Assessor to dismiss a complaint
    • the number of decisions made by the Independent Assessor to refer suspected inappropriate conduct to the local government
    • the number of occasions the Local Government asked another entity to investigate, for the local Government, the suspected inappropriate conduct of a councillor.
  • For the 2018–19 annual reports, local governments will need to report on the specified matters under the old system (complaints decided before 3 December 2018) and also the specified matters under the new system (complaints made after 3 December 2018).
  • If any Local Governments have not finalised their 2017-18 annual reports on 3 December 2018, these reports will have to include the specified matters under the old system.

Council employees are encouraged to carefully review the changes to the LGR as this Bulletin highlights only the significant changes.

Online resources

Councils who would like to request further advice or training on the new councillor complaints system are asked to contact their regional advisor.

Further Information

Any further enquiries on this matter should be addressed to:

Mr Daniel Westall
Manager Governance
Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs
P: (07) 3452 6713
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.