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Recent changes to legislation – implementation of stage 2 reforms for the Local Government sector

Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide information about recent legislative amendments to implement the second stage of the Queensland Government’s rolling reforms for the Local Government sector.

Background

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) report Operation Belcarra: A blueprint for integrity and addressing corruption risk in Local Government, finalised in October 2017, contained recommendations for legislative changes to reduce the risk of corruption and to improve equity, transparency, integrity and accountability in local government elections and decision-making.

Matters requiring urgent legislative change were implemented by the government as part of a first stage of reforms in 2018, including strengthened processes for the management of conflicts of interest processes and prohibition of donations from property developers for candidates, councillors, third parties and political parties. The first stage of reforms also established the Office of the Independent Assessor and a new framework for complaints about councillor conduct.

Details

The Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 2 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 was assented to on 30 October 2019.

Changes that are in effect immediately:

  • Mandatory So you want to be a councillor? training for election candidates
  • Transparent candidate bank accounts and financial returns
  • New restrictions on decisions during the election caretaker period
  • New requirements for candidates in groups

Changes in effect on 18 November 2019:

  • Right to Information laws to cover Brisbane City Council civic cabinet meetings
  • Expanded councillor rights to access council information
  • Clarified responsibilities for councillors in preparing council budgets
  • Changes to mayoral powers to direct Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and senior executive officers
  • Changes to the appointment of senior executive officers

Changes in effect on 20 January 2020:

  • Improved real-time donation disclosures
  • Improved disclosures of real donation and gift sources
  • Real-time expenditure disclosures

Changes in effect on 30 March 2020:

  • Office of the Independent Assessor to investigate councillor conduct complaints for Brisbane City Council

Implementation support

The Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 2 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 and Explanatory Notes are available on the Queensland Legislation website:

The Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs will continue to provide information and resources to ensure that all councillors, CEOs and potential election candidates are well informed about the new legislative requirements.

Visit www.dlgrma.qld.gov.au/lgreform to:

  • view resources and fact sheets on key topics including disclosures and election requirements
  • view the information paper on previous and proposed local government reforms.

Further information

Enquiries about the local government reforms should be made using the dedicated reforms phone hotline 07 3452 6747 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further information on the mandatory candidate training is available on the dedicated website at www.dlgrma.qld.gov.au/candidates. Enquiries about the candidate training should be made using the dedicated training hotline 07 3452 7148 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The hotline numbers are available between the hours of 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.