Skip links and keyboard navigation

On 1 May 2019 the Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 2 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced to the Queensland Legislative Assembly.

The Bill has been referred to the Economics and Governance Committee who conducted an inquiry into the Bill. The submissions made, recordings and transcripts for the public hearings can be located on the Committee’s website.

On 21 June 2019, the Committee released its report which is now being considered by the State Government before the Bill is debated by Parliament. Should the Bill be passed, these reforms will apply to local governments and candidates for the 2020 local government elections. More information will be made available in due course by the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs here.

The Model Meeting Procedures (PDF, 495KB) set out certain procedures to ensure the local government principles are reflected in the conduct of local government meetings and committee meetings. It is not intended that these procedures will deal with all aspects of meeting conduct but those required to strengthen public confidence in the conduct of councillors in meetings and conduct of those meetings.

The Local Government Act 2009 (section 150G) provides that a local government must either:

  • adopt the Model Meeting Procedures, or
  • prepare and adopt other procedures that are consistent with the Model Meeting Procedures for the conduct of its meetings.

Some local governments currently use formalised standing orders to conduct their council meetings. If the council chooses to continue using existing standing orders, the council must review the orders to ensure they are consistent with the Model Meeting Procedures.

Best practice standing orders (DOC, 282KB) have been developed to support local governments with a set of rules to conduct their meetings in an orderly way. Councils may also choose to adopt the best practice standing orders.

The Model Meeting Procedures include processes for dealing with:

  1. unsuitable meeting conduct by a councillor
  2. suspected inappropriate conduct by a councillor referred by the Independent Assessor to the local government
  3. material personal interest
  4. conflict of interest
  5. closed meetings.

1. Unsuitable meeting conduct

The Chairperson of a local government meeting has certain responsibilities, as outlined in the model meeting procedures. The behaviour of all councillors in local government meetings should also meet the behavioural standards outlined in the mandatory Code of Conduct for councillors in Queensland (PDF, 150KB).

2. Inappropriate conduct

A local government may have a matter of suspected inappropriate conduct by a councillor referred to it by the Independent Assessor for investigation.

3. Material personal interest

Councillors have an obligation to be aware of the requirements for dealing with a material personal interest, both for themselves and for another councillor.

4. Conflict of interest

Councillors also have an obligation to be aware of the requirements for dealing with real or perceived conflicts of interest, both for themselves and for another councillor.

5. Closed meetings

This section details the reasons a local government may close a meeting to the public and the procedures it must follow when proposing to close a meeting, entering a close session and re-opening a meeting.

A local government or committee must not make a resolution (other than procedural) in a closed session of a meeting. The Chairperson can give a warning to a councillor about their unsuitable meeting conduct in a closed session, but they must reopen the meeting to deal with the unsuitable meeting conduct if disciplinary orders are required.

Obligation to report other councillors’ interests

If a councillor at a meeting reasonably believes, or reasonably suspects, that another councillor has a conflict of interest or a material personal interest in a matter and has not informed the meeting about the interest, the councillor must advise the Chairperson, as soon as practicable, about their belief or suspicion, and the facts and circumstances that form the basis of the belief or suspicion.

In responding to this circumstance, the Chairperson should ask a councillor with a suspected interest if that interest exists and follow the procedures set out in the model meeting procedures.

Recording actions and outcomes of a local government meeting

Any decision that is required to be made under the model meeting procedures, or a local government’s own compliant meeting procedures, must be made by resolution. The model meeting procedures outline changed reporting requirements for each circumstance or conduct type.