The Office of the Independent Assessor was established under the Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 on 3 December 2018 as part of the Queensland Government’s commitment to local government reform.
What is the role of the Independent Assessor?
The Independent Assessor investigates and assesses complaints about councillor conduct.
The Independent Assessor also:
- provides advice, training and information about dealing with alleged or suspected inappropriate conduct, misconduct or corrupt conduct to councillors, local government employees and the public.
- prosecutes misconduct offences via the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.
Why do we need an Independent Assessor?
Previously, complaints about councillor conduct were assessed by the chief executive of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, or the council’s CEO.
In 2016, an independent review, initiated by the Queensland Government, was conducted into the councillor complaints process.
The Councillor Complaints Review: A fair, effective and efficient framework (PDF, 2.5 mb) recommended a number of reforms aimed at assisting councils and councillors reduce inappropriate and corrupt conduct and misconduct. The Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 established the OIA to investigate and assess councillor complaints, ensuring the process remained transparent and accountable.
How independent is the Independent Assessor?
The Independent Assessor reports directly to the Minister for Local Government. The amended Local Government Act 2009 stipulates that the Independent Assessor is not subject to direction by another person in regard to exercising its powers.
What is the jurisdiction of the Independent Assessor?
The Independent Assessor has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute complaints made against councillors from all local governments in Queensland. Brisbane City Council is excluded as it is administered by the City of Brisbane Act 2010.