Tuesday 16 July 2019
A record 917 complaints were made about councillor conduct in the past financial year with the Office of the Independent Assessor receiving 824 complaints in just over six months, 240 in the last quarter.
Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian said there was a 466% increase in the number of complaints received in the financial year which raised 1,200 separate issues or allegations.
“Complaints from the public increased to 62% of all complaints received and we are now dealing with councillor conduct complaints in relation to 51 out of 77 Queensland councils,” Ms Florian said.
“As at 30 June 2019 we have 152 ongoing misconduct investigations and a total of 54 matters have been referred or, have been assigned to the OIA lawyers to prepare matters for possible referral, to the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.
“Notwithstanding this, the OIA has been able to assess 80% of the complaints that we have received within 21 working days.
“It is important for councillors and complainants to also know that the OIA has dismissed or determined to take no further action on a total of 477 complaint matters, either on assessment or after investigation.
“However, to manage this workload, the OIA is prioritising matters for active investigation and delays in investigations and referring matters to the Tribunal are being experienced.
“As at 30 June, 79 investigations were on hold or pending outcomes in other jurisdictions.”
The Councillor Conduct Tribunal has determined 13 matters involving eight councillors, 10 allegations were sustained against five councillors and three were not sustained against three councillors.
“We are sending smaller matters on the fast track to the Tribunal but there are now several contested matters before the Tribunal,” Ms Florian said.
The OIA began taking councillor complaints from 3 December 2018, prior that complaints were managed by the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.
The OIA’s Insight examines councillor conduct complaints and delivers on the Independent Assessor’s commitment to transparent and accountable complaints management