Queensland Government

Monday 04 February 2019

Queensland councillors will not be prosecuted for making incorrect conflict of interest declarations in council meetings, if they can demonstrate they have, in good faith, followed a step-by-step aid to determine if they have a conflict of interest.

Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian, head of the new councillor complaints body, said the meeting aid was developed in conjunction with the Queensland Integrity Commissioner to assist councillors to be more transparent and help councils make good decisions that benefit their communities.

“This meeting aid and a conflict of interest guide provide a robust framework to assist councillors and councils correctly identify, declare and deal with conflicts of interest and material personal interests,” Ms Florian said.

“I thank the Integrity Commissioner Dr Nikola Stepanov and her staff for their hard work in developing these materials and I encourage all councillors to use them.

“The guides also have input from key local government stakeholders and integrity bodies to communicate a shared view of what can be a complex part of council business.“

Under the Local Government Act 2009 it is an offence for a councillor to fail to properly disclose a conflict of interest or a material personal interest.

The meeting aid check-list and guide sets out the three steps councillors and councils should follow in determining and managing conflicts of interest and details the questions they should ask themselves to support sound decision making.

The Independent Assessor and the Queensland Integrity Commissioner today released several guides for councillors to help them make transparent decisions in the best interests of their communities:

“These guides ensure the Office of the Independent Assessor supports the many councillors who are doing their best to serve their communities, while holding to account those councillors who would commit misconduct,” Ms Florian said.

The guides will be followed by targeted training with councils that have requested assistance and will be reviewed after three months to ensure that they are as useful as possible.

The Office of the Independent Assessor was established to provide a simpler and more streamlined system for making, investigating and determining complaints about councillor conduct. It also promotes high standards of conduct by elected councillors by providing advice, training and information.

To view the conflict of interest meeting aid and other decision-making guides visit www.oia.qld.gov.au

ENDS

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