Independent Assessor to deal with Councillor Complaints

The State Government will introduce an Independent Assessor to consider all complaints against councillors, in a further move to reform local government.

check with magnifying glassThe new measure is one of 50 recommendations to be adopted, supported in-part or supported in principle from the Councillor Complaints Review, conducted by an independent three-person panel earlier this year.

The Independent Assessor will have significant powers to assess and prosecute complaints and will also be able to dismiss or prosecute frivolous, vexatious or out-of-time complaints.

A new, mandatory, uniform Code of Conduct that sets out acceptable standards of behaviour for elected councillors is also proposed.

Under the model the Independent Assessor would receive all complaints, then categorize, investigate and, if necessary, prosecute complaints.

A Tribunal would deal with misconduct matters, while allegations of inappropriate conduct would be dealt with by councils.

Corrupt conduct would still be referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Minister for Local Government Mark Furner says having the Independent Assessor make the preliminary assessment in all circumstances – other than corrupt conduct matters which must be referred to the CCC – will simplify the process and reduce duplication and red tape.

The Government will consult widely with Councils and peak bodies such as the LGAQ on the proposed new laws over coming months.

The Ipswich mayoral by-election and the Boulia by-election will be the first local government elections to adhere to new electoral donations laws.