The Huon Valley Council has adopted a Code of Conduct relating to the conduct of Councillors in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act).
The Code of Conduct is consistent with the Model Code of Conduct approved by the Minister for Local Government. The Minister can consent to variations from the Model Code as may be requested from a Council, however, the Council has not requested any variations at this time. The Code is also consistent with the Act and addresses prescribed matters. Council is to review its Code of Conduct within three months after each ordinary election.
The Code of Conduct provides for the following matters:
- Conflict of Interest
- Use of Office
- Use of Council resources
- Use of Information
- Gifts and Benefits
- Behaviour and relationships with the community, other Councillors and Council employees
- Representation as a Councillor, of the Council into the community
- Any other prescribed matters
A person may make a Code of Conduct complaint against one Councillor in relation to an allegation of a contravention by the Councillor of the Code of Conduct.
A person may make a complaint against more than one Councillor if the complaint relates to the same behaviour and the same conduct contravention.
Code of Conduct complaints are to be lodged with the General Manager, Huon Valley Council, PO Box 210, Huonville, 7109 or at the Council’s Customer Service Centre and must:
- Be in writing
- State the name and address of the person making the complaint (Complainant)
- State the name of each Councillor against whom the complaint is made
- State the provisions of the relevant Code of Conduct that the Councillor has allegedly contravened
- Contain details of the behaviour of each Councillor that constitutes the alleged contravention
- Be lodged with the General Manager within six months after the Councillor or Councillors against whom the complaint is made allegedly committed the contravention of the Code of Conduct;
- Be accompanied by a statutory declaration, signed by the complainant or by each complainant, verifying the accuracy of the information contained in the complaint;
- Contain details of all efforts made by the complainant to resolve the issue that is the subject of the complaint; and
- Be accompanied by the Code of Conduct complaint lodgement fee (50 fee units) See https://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/economy/economic-policy-and-reform/fee-units for current fee unit details
Once satisfied that the Code of Conduct complaint meets prescribed requirements, the General Manager forwards the complaint to the Code of Conduct Panel.
The Code of Conduct Panel is an independent body appointed by the Minister for Local Government and is responsible for the investigation and determination of Code of Conduct complaints as provided by the Act. Other than to receive and refer a complaint the General Manager has no other involvement in the process.
Parties to a complaint are asked and encouraged to maintain confidentiality concerning complaints. The purpose of this approach is to minimise discussion of the complaint within the community until such time as the Panel has completed its initial assessment and investigation.
The Code of Conduct Panel Information Sheet provided to Complainant contains the following information:
Is a complaint confidential?
Complaints should be treated as confidential. The parties to a complaint should keep the complaint, and all information provided to, and by, the Panel during the assessment and investigation of the complaint (for example, supporting information provided by the complainant and any response to the complaint provided by the respondent), confidential and out of the public domain. This applies from lodgement of the complaint up until:
– the complaint is withdrawn by the complainant;
– the complaint is dismissed by the Chairperson of the Panel on initial assessment; or
– the Panel’s determination report is made public by being included within an agenda item at the first open council meeting at which it is practicable to do so.
Additionally, the Code of Conduct Panel does not advise councillors of the receipt of a complaint against them until the decision has been made that the complaint is to be investigated.
The General Manager takes into account those principles and once a complaint has been forwarded to the Code of Conduct Panel the General Manager does not have any role in advising Councillors when a complaint is lodged.
Particulars in relation to the Code of Conduct can be found in the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2016.
The following documents are included for your reference: