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New Councillor Code of Conduct to enforce higher standards in Local Government

A new Councillor Code of Conduct spelling out the minimum behaviour required of Local Government elected representatives has been released.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Code of Conduct, which takes effect in December, was the latest in a series of Local Government reforms being delivered by the Palaszczuk Government. Its other Local Government reforms include a ban on political donations from property developers, the automatic suspension of Mayors and Councillors for a range of integrity offences, and a new power for the Local Government Minister to dismiss or suspend a Council, Councillor or Mayor in the public interest. “This new Code of Conduct sets the bar high for Queensland’s elected Local Government representatives,” he said. “It sets out the principles and standards of behaviour expected of Councillors and Mayors when carrying out their roles, responsibilities and obligations as the elected representatives of their communities.” The new Code of Conduct has a strong focus on the three ‘R’s, namely:

  • 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; and

  • ensure their conduct does not reflect adversely on the REPUTATION of the council.

“Face-to-face training is available to all councillors to ensure they are fully aware of and ready to comply with the Code when it comes in on 3 December this year,” Mr Hinchliffe said.  “I’m encouraged that more than 35 councils have already signed up for training and I urge the others to do the same in the interests of good governance and their ratepayers.”

Mr Hinchliffe said a range of tough penalties would apply to those who breach the Code when it takes effect in December. “Councillors who break the Code of Conduct can be reprimanded or ordered to attend training or counselling,” he said. “They can also be ordered to publicly admit they’ve engaged in inappropriate conduct or be excluded from stated local government meetings. “A Councillor in breach of the code can also be ordered to reimburse the local government for all or some of the costs arising from the Councillor’s inappropriate conduct.

“This is a vital part of the next wave of local government reforms, which aim to ensure all Councils serve their communities openly and honestly and adhere to the highest standards of integrity and accountability.” All Councillors must declare that they will abide by this Code of Conduct when they are elected. It applies to all Councils, except Brisbane City Council which has a separate Code. The Code of Conduct can be viewed here

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