The NSW government has commissioned an independent review of the code of conduct for councillors, including whether they should face stiffer penalties for bad behaviour.
The review of the Model Code of Conduct will also look at ways of streamlining and reducing the cost of the complaints handling process.
The code sets standards of behaviour for the 1,300 councillors at the state’s 128 councils and is designed to ensure the ethical, accountable and transparent operation of local government.
“Residents rightly expect high standards of behaviour from their elected representatives and the NSW Government has zero tolerance for councillors who put petty politics and egos ahead of serving the local community,” local government minister Shelley Hancock said in a statement.
“The NSW Government is determined to ensure those elected representatives who breach community standards face the consequences.”
The review will examine the effectiveness of penalties available to councils, the Office of Local Government and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
It will also look at the processes for making code of conduct complaints, the timeliness of disciplinary action, and misconduct frameworks implemented in other jurisdictions.
“The review will make recommendations for any legislative, policy and operational changes required to ensure NSW has the strongest system in the country to target bad behaviour and enforce high standards of conduct in our local councils,” Mrs Hancock said.
Local government specialist and former Logan City Council general manager Gary Kellar will carry out the review.
Mr Kellar was a member of the expert panel that examined Queensland’s local government framework in 2017.
The terms of reference for the independent review can be found here.
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