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Code of Conduct for Councillors

On 3 December 2018, state government legislative changes came into effect which alters the ways Councillor conduct and complaints are managed in Queensland. To comply, the Council of the City of Gold Coast will amend its:

  • current standing orders for all Council and Committee meetings
  • meeting procedures, detailing actions to be taken by the Chair during a Council meeting when a Councillor’s behaviour is inappropriate, when a Council meeting may be closed, and how Councillors must declare conflicts of interest and material personal interests
  • investigations policy, detailing the processes to be followed when a complaint has been made against a Councillor or information has been uncovered and that complaint is being investigated by the Mayor, the Councillor Conduct Tribunal, the Independent Assessor or the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Other legislative changes include:

  • a uniform mandatory Code of Conduct for Councillors in Queensland
  • creation of the Office of the Independent Assessor
  • new annual report requirements.

Code of Conduct for Councillors

The Code of Conduct for Councillors in Queensland sets out the standards of behaviour expected of councillors and mayors when fulfilling their roles, responsibilities and obligations as elected representatives for their communities.

Introducing a new uniform code of conduct will assist in efficiently making all councillors aware of their obligations around the ‘three Rs’ – responsibilities, respect and reputation.

The ‘three Rs’ ensure councillors must:

  • carry out RESPONSIBILITIES conscientiously and in the best interests of the council and the community
  • treat people in a reasonable, just, RESPECTFUL and non-discriminatory way
  • ensure conduct does not reflect adversely on the REPUTATION of council.

Councillor Conduct Complaints

To understand the different types of Councillor Conduct Complaints and what can be done about them, please refer to the Queensland Government Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA).

The OIA will assess all complaints received. The Independent Assessor may also initiate their own investigation if they have reason to suspect misconduct or inappropriate conduct.

If sufficient information is provided to the Independent Assessor and the complaint constitutes misconduct or inappropriate conduct, it will either be investigated by the OIA or referred back to local government for investigation.

If insufficient information is provided to the Independent Assessor a notice may be issued requesting more information.

If the complaint is deemed to be vexatious or frivolous, it will be dismissed and the complainant advised. Penalties apply for making frivolous or vexatious complaints.

If the Independent Assessor reasonably suspects a complaint or information involves, or may involve, corrupt conduct the Independent Assessor must notify the Crime and Corruption Commission.

At the end of the investigation:

  • the Independent Assessor may decide to take no further action on the complaint
  • if the Independent Assessor reasonably suspects the conduct is inappropriate, refer the conduct to the local government to deal with
  • if the Independent Assessor reasonably suspects the conduct is misconduct, make an application for the matter to be heard by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.

What is not a Councillor Conduct Complaint?

Councillor conduct complaints may involve anything whereby the conduct of a councillor is perceived as being unsuitable meeting conduct, inappropriate conduct, or misconduct. Councillor conduct complaints do not as a general rule, include matters that relate to:

  • Planning, building and permit disputes
  • City services (e.g. bin collection, noise complaints)   
  • Performance of City staff, unless related to offences under the Local Government Act 2009
  • Council decisions, unless there is a possible conflict of interest
  • Penalty infringement notices (PINS), including parking offences
  • Land and water rates.

The above matters are dealt with by the City under the relevant policy. If you have a concern about any of the above, please see our Complaints page for more information about our complaints management policy and to submit a complaint online.

Investigation (Inappropriate Conduct of Councillors) Policy

Section 150AE of the Local Government Act 2009 requires a local government to adopt an Investigation Policy (the Policy) about how it deals with the suspected inappropriate conduct of Councillors referred, by the Assessor, to Council to be dealt with. As required by the Local Government Act 2009 this policy:

  • includes a procedure for investigating the suspected inappropriate conduct of Councillors; and
  • states the circumstances in which another entity may investigate the conduct; and
  • is consistent with the principles of natural justice; and
  • requires Councillors and persons who make complaints about Councillors’ conduct to be given notice about the outcome of investigations; and
  • requires decisions about suspected inappropriate conduct and the reasons for them to be published.

Councillor Conduct Register

As required by section 150DX of the Local Government Act 2009 the City of Gold Coast has developed a Councillor Conduct Register.

Contacting us

Please contact us if you would like further information about Councillor conduct and complaints.

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