Minister slaps ban on Queensland councils
USE of private email accounts for official council business will be banned under a tough new code of conduct to be rolled out for Queensland's councils.
Councillors will need to declare they will abide the new code and could be forced to publicly admit they acted inappropriately if caught breaking the rules.
They could also be forced to personally pay for any costs associated with their breach of the new code if they are found guilty.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the code, which sets out the minimum behaviour required, would be in force from December and apply to every council except Brisbane City Council which operates under a separate code.
It will be policed by the new council watchdog, the Officer of the Independent Assessor, which also starts work at the end of the year.
"This new Code of Conduct sets the bar high for Queensland's elected Local Government representatives," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"Councillors who break the Code of Conduct can be reprimanded or ordered to attend training or counselling. They can also be ordered to publicly admit they've engaged in inappropriate conduct or be excluded from stated local government meetings.
"A councillor in breach of the code can also be ordered to reimburse the local government for all or some of the costs arising from the councillor's inappropriate conduct."
The code is the latest reform to be rolled out by the Government in the wake of the Crime and Corruption Commission's Belcarra council election inquiry and its probe into Ipswich City Council.
The use of emails other than official council accounts to conduct council business is banned under the code while councillors will also be required to report any suspected wrongdoing to authorities "in a timely manner".