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Beyond Belcarra

 

Queensland councils are determined to be leaders in transparency and accountability to guarantee public confidence and trust.

The LGAQ Policy Executive has endorsed the following proposals to guide the local government sector’s strong commitment to demanding the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of local government operations.

10 Point Plan

  • 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.
  • 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 (“ceilings”) of $200,000 for mayoral elections and $50,000 for councillor elections and lower expenditure limits (“floors”) 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.

 

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Councils encouraged to supply submissions to Bill by 21 March

Monday, 19 March 2018

The LGAQ will be making a submission to Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 1 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018  (due noon Friday 23 March 2018).

Councils are encouraged to make their own submission and provide their submissions to the LGAQ. Councils are encouraged to provide copies of their submissions by COB Wednesday 21 March 2018.

The below is a summary of the Legislation from the committee’s website

On 6 March 2018 the Hon Stirling Hinchliffe MP, Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs introduced the Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 1 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.

The policy objective of the Bill is to implement the Government’s response to certain recommendations of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s report Operation Belcarra: A blueprint for integrity and addressing corruption risk in local government to:

reinforce integrity and minimise corruption risk that political donations from property developers has potential to cause at both a state and local government level
improve transparency and accountability in state and local government
strengthen the legislative requirements that regulate how a councillor must deal with a real or perceived conflict of interest or a material personal interest.

It should be noted that the Local Government Electoral (Implementing Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017, which is substantially the same as the 2018 Bill, was referred to the former Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee prior to the dissolution of the 55th Parliament for the 2017 election. The former committee had not concluded its inquiry for the 2017 Bill, which lapsed when the 55th Parliament was dissolved. 

The committee may have regard to any evidence provided to the former Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee in its consideration of the 2017 Bill. See the former committee inquiry - here. 

Timeline

Submissions close: Friday, 23 March 2018 at 12pm

Public briefing: Monday, 19 March 2018. Program here. 

Public hearing: Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Report due date: Monday, 23 April 2018

To see the committee website go here. 

Councils with enquiries in relation to the Bill are encouraged to contact:

Joshua O’Keefe on 3000 2238/ Joshua_OKeefe@lgaq.asn.au.

 

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006

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Last updated 25 May 2018

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