Even more transparency needed

Article image - Even more transparency needed LGAQ CEO, Greg Hallam, AM

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has called on the State Government to introduce even stricter reforms for local government, beyond those recommended by the Crime and Corruption Commission’s (CCC’s) Operation Belcarra report.

A meeting of LGAQ’s 16 member Policy Executive leaders in Brisbane has voted to go further than the CCC’s recommended regulations to ensure the sector is the most transparent level of government.

LGAQ CEO, Greg Hallam, AM said councils are determined to be leaders in transparency and accountability to guarantee public confidence and trust.

'The LGAQ demands the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of local government operations.

'We look forward to working with the State Government and driving these far-reaching proposals.'

The new proposals include:

  • Clarification that donations/gifts are to remain on registers of interests for two terms of council (current and previous term)
  • Mandatory pre-election briefings for new candidates (excluding sitting councillors)
  • Mandatory, high-quality and practical post-election training for all elected members
  • LGAQ-run community awareness campaign on local government planning role
  • Introduction of a statutory provision to automatically stand down councillors charged with an indictable offence, at full remuneration until proven guilty.

The above-mentioned proposals are in addition to the following proposals which have been previously endorsed by the Policy Executive.

They include:

  • Compulsory register of interests for candidates seeking election
  • Campaign expenditure limits set at $2 per enrolled voter for mayoral elections and $1 per enrolled voter for councillor elections, with upper expenditure limits of $200,000 for mayoral elections and $50,000 for councillor elections and lower expenditure limits of $20,000 for mayoral elections, $15,000 for councillor elections in undivided councils and $5,000 for councillor elections in divided councils.
  • Donations or gifts above $500 on a register of interests to be treated the same as a Material Personal Interest
  • Open data and governance innovation initiatives provided by the LGAQ, most particularly Ready, Set, Go benchmarking service being made public from October 2018
  • Better Councils Better Communities – public education campaign run by the LGAQ.