NSW local government’s peak body has welcomed the State Government’s updated Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils, which will bring even higher levels of council transparency and accountability.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the updated code, released on Friday, was designed to ensure councils and councillors operated to rigorous standards.
The latest changes simplify the process of appointing conduct review panels and adds stronger deterrents to bad behaviour.
“Under the new code the Government has beefed up its rules in prosecuting censured councillors,” Cr Scott said.
“This latest code gives increased power to the Office of Local Government (OLG) to impose penalties, payment suspensions and disqualification from office for councillors in breach of the code.”
Cr Scott said NSW councils were committed to operating with high integrity as outlined in the Code of Conduct.
“Councils generally welcome the Model Code of Conduct as a clear guiding document to uphold transparency and accountability,” she said.
“The Government has missed an opportunity to consult with councils when creating this new code, which would help achieve more changes that assist councils and communities.
“For example, councils are still limited to formally censuring a councillor for breaches of the cCode, which means if a council is concerned about a breach, it must wait upon the Office of Local Government to act.”
Cr Scott said LGNSW would like to work with the Minister for Local Government to better align future Model Codes of Conduct with council needs and community expectations.
The newly published Model Code of Conduct and Procedures can be found here.