NSW strengthens code of conduct
The New South Wales Government has announced it introduce a strengthened code of conduct covering councillors and council employees across the State’s 152 local government areas.
“I want to emphasise that the vast majority of councillors do a great job and work long hours without regard to furthering their personal or political interests. These rules are not aimed at those councillors,’’ State Local Government Minister Don Page said.
“The new code sets the standards of ethical and other conduct that Council employees and councillors are required to observe while fulfilling their work obligations, and it informs communities of those standards.”
Mr Page said under the new laws, to be introduced into parliament this session:
- Councillors who misbehave could have their fees suspended for up to three months or in extreme cases, could be barred from civic office for up to five years.
- A provision to punish councillors for making politically motivated or vexatious allegations under the code.
- New regional assessment panels will be formed to assess complaints made under the code of conduct.
- Creation of a role for the Division of Local Government to help councils administer the code.
- Make it possible for the Director General of Local Government to consider a councillor’s prior behavior when deciding on sanctions.
- A ban on councillors and their family members receiving gifts of more than token value including free meals, gym memberships, free or discounted overseas travel.
- A ban on councillors using their positions to gain a private benefit, financial or otherwise.
- A ban on sanctions for councilors who fail to abide by caucus rulings before council votes.
The Model Code of Conduct can be viewed at: www.dlg.nsw.gov.au