On 17 May 2018 Parliament passed the Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018.
These amendments will provide a simpler, more streamlined system for making, investigating and determining complaints about councillor conduct in Queensland.
The changes will require Local Governments to implement new procedures for dealing with councillor conduct complaints and mandatory Code of Conduct training for councillors in the coming months.
The tribunal is responsible for hearing and deciding the most serious complaints of misconduct by local government councillors (section 176, Local Government Act 2009).
Division 6 of the Local Government Act is about dealing with complaints about the conduct and performance of councillors. It is important to ensure that appropriate standards of conduct and performance are maintained and that any councillor who engages in misconduct or inappropriate conduct is disciplined.
The complaints process is managed by the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.
Allegations of misconduct are referred to either the tribunal or a regional conduct review panel. If an allegation of misconduct is substantiated, the tribunal or panel takes disciplinary action.
Complaints about more serious behaviour that might amount to corrupt conduct are dealt with under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 and are not the responsibility of the tribunal.
A decision by the tribunal in relation to misconduct is not subject to appeal (section 176(9), Local Government Act 2009).
Decisions of the tribunal concerning complaints of misconduct by councillors must be communicated to the chief executive officer of the local government concerned. The chief executive officer must keep a record of all complaints received as well as their outcome. This record must be available for inspection at the local government's public office or on the local government's website.
The local government must pay the costs of the tribunal in relation to a complaint of misconduct by a councillor (section 186, Local Government Act 2009).