A councillor has a material personal interest in a matter if a decision or action taken by the local government or any of its committees on that matter may result in a direct or indirect benefit or loss to any of the following:
- the councillor
- a close relative (spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling) of the councillor
- an employer of the councillor
- a body or organisation of which the councillor is a member
- another person prescribed under regulation.
(Local Government Act 2009, section 172 (2); City of Brisbane Act, section 174):
Councillors must declare material personal interest
If you have a material personal interest you must tell the meeting about your interest and leave the meeting while the matter is discussed and a decision is made.
The legislation does provide some exceptions. A councillor does not have a material personal interest if the:
- local government is considering an 'ordinary business matter' (such as setting rates and charges or adopting the council budget)
- councillor's interest is no greater than that of other persons in the local government area.
Failure to declare a material personal interest
If you fail to disclose a material personal interest you may be guilty of an offence which carries a maximum penalty of a $22,000 fine or two years imprisonment. If convicted of this offence, a councillor is automatically disqualified.