NO EXCUSE: Minister shakes up ethics, integrity in councils

MAYORS and councillors will now have no excuse when it comes to making decisions that are ethical and in line with community expectations.

As part of a State Government push to improve trust in local government, elected officials have been given access to the Queensland Integrity Commissioner.

It's a service state MPs and public servants already enjoy.

The move came off the back of Operation Belcarra, an investigation into the conduct of candidates at the 2016 elections.

The Crime and Corruption Commission investigation focused on several council areas, including Ipswich.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said there was a strong public interest in granting elected Local Government representatives access to professional and confidential ethical and integrity advice.

"In the report into Operation Belcarra, the CCC recommended that Queensland's Mayors and Councillors be given access to the advisory and public awareness functions of the Queensland Integrity Commissioner," he said.

"That's why I've written to Queensland Integrity Commissioner Dr Nikola Stepanov requesting that Mayors and Councillors are included as designated persons under the Integrity Act 2009.

"State MPs and senior public servants can already seek advice from the Queensland Integrity Commissioner, and now's the right time to extend this access to Mayors and Councillors.

"This reform takes effect immediately, giving our Local Government representatives access to an impartial source of advice that will enable them to serve their communities better."

Mr Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government was pursuing a series of important Local Government reforms.

"These include legislating to establish the Office of the Independent Assessor to deal with Councillor complaints and enacting new conflict of interest provisions," he said.

"We're determined to see the good name of Local Government restored, protected and enhanced."