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On 18 June 2020 the Electoral and Other Legislation (Accountability, Integrity and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2020 was passed by the Queensland Legislative Assembly, with changes coming into effect on 12 October. Read more about the rolling reform agenda for the local government sector.

Councillors must take action to deal with material personal interests and conflicts of interest that arise between the public interest and their personal interests, or the interests of their related persons.

Councillors must also report potential interests they are aware that other councillors may have.

Material personal interests

Councillors must not participate in discussions on a matter at meetings if they or their spouse, parent, child, sibling, employer or business partner could gain a benefit or suffer a loss, depending on the outcome of the council decision. For example, if you or they could lose or gain money as a result of the decision.

If you have a material personal interest, you cannot participate in meetings about the matter, and you must not influence any other councillor about the matter. During a council meeting, you must immediately inform the meeting about the interest and then leave while the matter is being discussed.

Conflicts of interests

Even if a councillor or their related persons may not get a specific financial or other benefit, there are other instances where there could be a difference between their interests and those of the broader community.

You have a conflict of interest if somebody else could think that you are biased in your decision making for some other reason, for example if it helps out a friend or someone else you know, or perhaps because of a loyalty to a club.

During meetings, councillors must immediately inform the meeting of any conflicts of interest in matters being considered. They may then choose to leave the room and not participate in the decision-making. Should the councillor choose to remain in the meeting, the other councillors without an interest must then follow their meeting procedures to decide whether the councillor can participate in decision-making about the matter.

For more detailed information about managing Councillor interests, download the Managing councillor interests guideline and examples (PDF, 308KB) or the Easy guide for managing interests in meetings (PDF, 92KB).