Good governance is key

Published: 21st August 2020

The LGAQ is committed to good governance, just as our members are.

We have been extremely supportive of workable measures to improve transparency and accountability, both before and after Belcarra.

Our focus is on ensuring mayors and councillors are aware of their responsibilities and able to navigate the laws governing our sector with confidence.

We have been working closely with the Office of the Independent Assessor to address issues as they arise.

More than half of the complaints being received by Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian relate to breaches stemming from council meetings. 

In response, the LGAQ assembled a group of former councillors to help film a series of 'mock' council meeting videos that demonstrate unacceptable behaviour and the potential consequences to help elected members avoid making mistakes that could see them end up before the OIA.

Thank you to Ms Florian, and Tim Fynes-Clinton, Executive Partner at King & Company Solicitors, for providing the commentary for the videos.

Thanks also to the former councillors who acted out the scenarios: former Brisbane councillor and former LGAQ President Margaret de Wit, fellow former BCC councillor and former policy executive member Matthew Bourke and former Goondiwindi councillor Sharon Lee.

These videos are an excellent companion piece to the guide on page 21 of the LGAQ's Councillor Handbook.

This guide was issued to you in your induction kit and is also available online from our Elected Member Resources hub on LG Online.

App on the way

Speaking of keeping out of trouble, the LGAQ is only a few weeks away from finalising a new app to help guide councillors through the conflict of interest rules.

The Elected Member Interest Assessment Tool is a joint initiative of the LGAQ and the OIA and our intention is to launch it when the new rules come into effect in October.

The tool uses decision tree logic and explanatory notes and videos to lead elected members through the legislated provisions around managing personal interests when decisions in the public interest need to be made.

Elected members can choose to have the tool’s report emailed to them and to their CEO to assist with the management of the interest at the relevant council or committee meeting.

Ultimately, this tool can only guide elected members but if completed properly and honestly with respect to all the facts, it will support a personal decision with respect to a conflict.