CCC Recommendations for councils
Recent CCC Report
It is time for a change - to boost the integrity of local government and to restore public confidence in Local Councils and State Government!
Today I met with some likeminded Councillors, Cr Darren Power from Logan City Council and Cr Peter Young from the Gold Coast City Council. We discussed the recent CCC Report, the Belcarra Report – a blueprint for integrity and addressing corruption risk in local government.
We all support the need for the State Government to uphold the Crime and Corruption Commission’s recommendations and also encourage and support a review of the Local Government Act.
This report is an opportunity to commence the necessary changes required to ensure elected mayors and councillors, comply with relevant laws and adhere to the key principle of good governance – equity, transparency, integrity and accountability.
The process is the recommendations will follow the commission process, be presented in a Bill and open for submissions. At this time the general public will be able to comment. That is the time we can all show our support of the recommendations for the change and any further suggestions we may have.
The government now needs to follow through with legislative changes ASAP.
Summary of Belcarra Report
After the Qld local government elections in 2016 the CCC received numerous complaints about the conduct of candidates for several councils.
The CCC makes 31 recommendations to improve equity, transparency, integrity and accountability in Queensland local government elections and decision-making. To remove any doubt, these recommendations are intended to apply to all Queensland councils.
The recommendations include:
• Discusses expenditure caps at local government elections
• Real time disclosure of election expenditure
• Require candidates to declare interests on nomination
• More accountability surrounding “groups of candidates”
• Restrictions on gifts or loans
• Recommendation 20 is of particular interest so I have copied in full- That the Local Government Electoral Act, the Local Government Act and the City of Brisbane Act be amended to prohibit candidates, groups of candidates, third parties, political parties, associated entities and councillors from receiving gifts from property developers. This prohibition should reflect the New South Wales provisions as far as possible, including in defining a property developer (s. 96GB, Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981), making a range of donations unlawful, including a person making a donation on behalf of a prohibited donor and a prohibited donor soliciting another person to make a donation (s. 96GA), and making it an offence for a person to circumvent or attempt to circumvent the legislation (s. 96HB). Prosecutions for relevant offences should be able to be started at any time within four years after the offence was committed and suitable penalties should apply, including possible removal from office for councillors.
Read pages76 to79 for further background on this recommendation.
• When a councillor declares a conflict of interest, other councillors vote on whether they stay in the meeting or not.
• Other councillors have a responsibility to report another councillor if they suspect a conflict.
• To make it an offence if a councillor with a conflict to influence or attempt to influence any decision by another councillor or council employee on a point that appears on a meeting agenda.
There are 31 recommendations which can all be found in the full report on the CCC web site
It is a very interesting report with background information, investigation outcomes from various Councils and discussions of key issues.
Communities, including councillors who “do the right thing”, deserve to have councils and governments that follow key principles of good governance – equity, transparency, integrity and accountability.
I have asked the local paper to call on all councillors, State members and recent candidates to publicly state in the paper whether they support these recommendations.
This Belcarra Report is perhaps the beginning of the clean up so we must ensure we let the State Government know we support these recommendations for change!