CRACKDOWN ON BADLY BEHAVED COUNCILLORS

CRACKDOWN ON BADLY BEHAVED COUNCILLORS Featured

The NSW Government has proposed tough new Code of Conduct requirements for local NSW councils.

Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said the updated Model Code of Conduct for Councils in NSW – which would apply to 1,500 councillors and almost 50,000 council staff across NSW – was now on public exhibition for comment.

“While most councillors do the right thing for a small minority it is all about them instead of what is in the community’s best interests. We are determined to weed out councillors misusing their public office,” Ms Upton said.

“Breaches of the new Code of Conduct by councillors can result in suspension and even disqualification from office and these new proposed requirements will put an even greater onus on councillors to behave appropriately or face the consequences if they don’t serve their ratepayers.”

The new Model Code of Conduct proposes a range of new rules for all councillors and staff, including:

• Banning accepting gifts or benefits greater than $50 and introducing mandatory reporting of all gifts or benefits regardless of value;
• Disclosing records of meetings and other communications with applicants and objectors to planning applications;
• Banning access to council information when councillors have a pecuniary or a significant non-pecuniary conflict of interest;
• Requiring the declaration of new interests by councillors and staff more regularly in official returns of interest;
• Declaring being a property developer or a close associate of a property developer more regularly in official returns of interest;
• Publishing information in councillor and general manager official returns of interest on council’s website;
• Tough new standards against bullying, discrimination and harassment, work health and safety, on behaviour at meetings and use of social media;
• Clarifying that councillors must not use council information for personal purposes or undertake personal dealings with council during work time.

The draft Model Code of Conduct is on public exhibition for six weeks.

Read 1110 times

About Author

Related items

  • HUMILIATING REBUFF FOR BEREJIKLIAN AS UPPER HOUSE VOTES TO BAN SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS

    KATE WASHINGTON MP
    LABOR SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT


    NSW Labor has welcomed the successful passage of its Bill to ban single-use plastic bags in the Legislative Council this afternoon – in a shock defeat and humiliating rebuff for the Berejiklian Government.

    Labor’s Bill passed 18 votes to 16 and must now come down to the Legislative Assembly in two weeks time.

    Shadow Minister for Environment Kate Washington said she was overjoyed at the result.

    “Under Gladys Berejiklian, NSW is the only state to not ban single use plastic bags,” Ms Washington said.

    “The only people that are now standing in the way of a ban on single-use plastic bags in NSW are Gladys Berejiklian and John Barilaro.

    “This is the third time this Bill has been introduced by Labor. We are hoping it will be a case of third time lucky.

    “Labor will be campaigning around the clock with environmental groups across this state to make it happen.”

    Ms Washington noted that a week ago Environment Minister Matt Kean told Question Time that he supported banning single use plastic bags.

    “Some 50 million plastic bags end up in our oceans and waterways every year, so we have to ban the bag. But we also need to encourage people to reuse and recycle the bag.”
    Environment Minister Matt Kean, Hansard 18 September 2019

    “So far Matt Kean has been all talk – now we need to see action,” Ms Washington said.

    “It’s clear Matt Kean knows this has to be done – his job now is to deliver the votes of Gladys Berejiklian and John Barilaro who have blocked progress at every turn.”

    A legislative ban on single use plastic bags is supported by the National Retailers Association as well as NGOs such as the Boomerang Alliance.

    Globally it is estimated that 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 mammals die every year as a result of plastic ingestion or entanglement.

    About 180 million bags enter the Australian environment every year, including 50 million plastic bags entering our waterways and oceans.

  • NSW HOUSING APPROVALS CONTINUE TO SOAR 

    Housing approvals across the state continue to soar with over 70,000 home approvals granted in 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said this was the third consecutive calendar year that NSW recorded more than 70,000 building approvals.
     
    “The rate of building approvals and completions in NSW is continuing to power the NSW economy and provide vital employment opportunities across the building and construction industry,” Mr Roberts said.

Mr Roberts said almost twice as many homes were approved December 2017 compared to 2010, when, under Labor, only 36,828 homes were approved. 

“NSW is the number one state in the nation for housing approvals and continues to far exceed the Premier’s Priority Housing Target of 50,000 approvals per year which improves housing supply and helps to support housing affordability.
     
    “The NSW Government is getting on with the job of delivering the homes for tomorrow to cater for our state’s growing population.”
     
    The latest figures released by the Department of Planning and Environment show that Western Sydney remains the epicenter of the state’s housing construction with 27,540 new homes approved in the year to November 2017.
    
“Along with our record transport infrastructure investment, these strong levels of housing approvals are vital to improving affordability and ensuring NSW remains number one.
     
    “And we are also ensuring that new housing is matched by more schools, hospitals, and green space”.
     
    Acting Treasurer, Victor Dominello said: “One of our Government’s priorities is to get more homes built and make it easier for first home buyers to enter the market and own their own home.
     
    “Thousands of people have taken advantage of the stamp duty exemptions and reductions to buy their first home, in the first quarter since the reforms came into effect”.
     
    The housing affordability package announced as part of the June Budget removes stamp duty for first home buyers for both new and existing homes for properties up to $650,000 and reduces duty for first homes between $650,000 and $800,000.
     
    “It is essential we prepare for the future by ensuring our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to own their own home,” Mr Dominello said.

  • ALL NSW MERGED COUNCILS TO REMAIN IN PLACE

    All merged councils across NSW will remain in place as communities continue to enjoy the benefits of savings and improvements to services, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton announced today.

    “Since becoming Premier, the Deputy Premier and I have been travelling across NSW, listening to the views and considering the evidence,” Ms Berejiklian said.

    “In addition to maintaining all existing mergers, we will push ahead with those councils in Sydney that are before the courts.

    “Local government reform is particularly important in Sydney if we are to deliver on our commitments to increase housing supply, improve planning and deliver local infrastructure and amenity to communities. These are strong justifications for proceeding with mergers.

    “Before the mergers last year, Sydney had 41 councils compared to 1 in Brisbane.

    “We have also listened to concerns about local character in Sydney and will continue to ensure individual wards of merged councils will have a say in strategic planning processes so that local residents get an even stronger say in the planning of their neighbourhoods.”

    Ms Berejiklian and Mr Barilaro also announced that the NSW Government would not be proceeding with regional councils that have yet to be merged.

    “Whilst there have been a number of significant improvements in merged regional councils, we accept that a one size fits all model does not always apply outside Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The financial benefits over the next 20 years will be 6 times greater in the Sydney councils than those in regional areas.”

    Mr Barilaro said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to listening, and delivering, for the communities across regional NSW.

    “Local councils in the bush have done their fair share to contribute to stronger local government in NSW, and today we draw a line under local government amalgamations in the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.

    “This decision has been made to ensure that we put an end to the confusion and uncertainty for those councils locked in drawn-out legal battles. I am looking forward to the local government elections in September to restore local decision-making to our regions.”

    Ms Upton said three rounds of mergers in regional NSW over recent decades had seen significant consolidation of councils, while metropolitan council numbers had remained largely unchanged since the 1940s, with some boundaries unchanged for more than 100 years.

    “The reform process was particularly designed to weed out the duplication, mismanagement and waste of Sydney’s councils, an issue far less prevalent in regional NSW,” Ms Upton said.

    “With more than 1.74 million people set to make Sydney home over the next 20 years, metropolitan councils need to keep up with housing and local infrastructure demands.

    “The five remaining metropolitan mergers are expected to generate $530 million in benefits over 20 years. Communities deserve to see these benefits.”

    The Premier said new councils created last year will continue to serve their communities.

    “New councils across NSW have been working hard to deliver better services for their communities,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Residents and ratepayers would be worse off if this was undone.”

Login to post comments

Archive