Minister for Local Government Mark Furner.
Minister for Local Government Mark Furner. Blake Antrobus

Govt appoints assessor to handle councillor complaints

THE State Government will appoint an independent assessor to review and potentially prosecute all complaints against councillors in a move to continue the reform of local government.

The new measure is one of 50 recommendations from the Councillor Complaints Review conducted earlier this year.

If appointed, the assessor would be able to receive all complaints submitted to the Department of Local Government, then investigate and if necessary prosecute complaints.

Locally, for the Fraser Coast Regional Council, who have been responsible for about a third of the total complaints submitted to the Department.

Minister for Local Government Mark Furner, who tabled the report at a Budgets Estimates Hearing last night, said the proposed changes were aimed at ensuring public confidence in the councillor complaints system.

"The Palaszczuk Government proposes to give the Independent Assessor significant powers to assess and prosecute complaints," Mr Furner said.

"Under the model identified, the independent assessor will also be able to dismiss or prosecute frivolous, vexatious or out-of-time complaints."

Mr Furner also proposed a mandatory code of conduct that would need to be followed by elected councillors.

"I want councillors who bring down the standard of those hard working elected representatives around the state, to be held accountable for their actions," Mr Furner said.

"The proposed changes are part of a suite of measures that are addressing integrity and accountability issues in local government in Queensland.

"As elected representatives, councillors and mayors should be held to the highest possible standards of ethical and legal behaviour."

The state government will consult with councils and local government bodies on the new laws over the coming months.