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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.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Election expenditure records will need to be kept from 1 May 2019 by all candidates and groups of candidates for the 2020 local government elections if the Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 2 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 is passed.

The Queensland Government is pursuing a rolling reform agenda in the local government sector.

These reforms will further strengthen the transparency, accountability and integrity measures which apply to the system of local government in Queensland. The government is committed to supporting local government and ensuring that public confidence and accountability is demonstrated.

Key changes from 2018 included:

Latest proposed changes

The Belcarra Report found that good government requires elections to be held on a level playing field, with equal participation available to all.

Belcarra also stressed the need for complete transparency about who candidates are, how their campaigns are funded, and their interests and affiliations – along with their relationship with other candidates.

The Bill introduced into Parliament on 1 May 2019 proposes amendments to the City of Brisbane Act 2010, the Local Government Act 2009, the Local Government Electoral Act 2011, the Referendums Act 1997 and the Right to Information Act 2009.

Amendments included in the Bill are proposed to commence at various times. The Bill has been structured to group amendments accordingly:

  • amendments that commence on assent
  • amendments that commence by proclamation at a later date set by Regulation.

To help you stay informed and involved, this website will be updated on a regular basis.

What do the Amendments Mean?

Proposed changes from Assent

Mandatory training for candidates and Councillors

Ways to pay amounts from dedicated campaign bank accounts for candidates and groups including prohibiting the use of credit cards for campaign expenses

Further tightening of conflict of interest and material personal interest provisions

Intervention Powers

Changes during Caretaker Period

Financial Matters

Postal ballot elections

Postal voting applications

Proposed to commence by a date to be declared (Proclamation)

Changes to Mayoral Powers

Record of Membership in a Group of Candidates

Prohibited Campaigning Techniques

Registers of Interest for Candidates

Dedicated Campaign Bank Accounts for Candidates and Groups

Real Time Disclosure of Electoral Spending

Tightening of Reporting of Gift

Compulsory Preferential Voting

Brisbane City Council – Councillor Complaints and State Intervention Powers

Meetings

Councillor Access to Information

Further Regulatory Amendments

To support the Bill amendments to the Local Government Regulation 2012, City of Brisbane Regulation 2012 and Local Government Electoral Regulation 2012 are proposed to occur in multiple stages during 2019. Subject to approval by Parliament, consultation will commence and will include consideration of:

  • tightening controls around the topics council may discuss in closed meetings
  • ensure resolutions and minutes have enough information for the community to understand why Councils have made decisions
  • Councils being required to consult with the community on their budgets
  • strengthening the requirements on the use of council-controlled entities
  • publishing of Councillor registers of interest to be standardised so that the community is better informed about potential conflicts of interests.

Further Consultation on Proposed Amendments

Some proposed amendments have been delayed due to feedback received from stakeholders during consultation. Further consultation will be conducted in the near future. The proposed amendments related to:

  • compulsory preferential voting for councillors in undivided Councils and multi-member divisions
  • election expenditure caps for after the 2020 local government election
  • public campaign funding
  • filling of councillor vacancies by alternatives to conducting by-elections.

Webinars

A series of live webcasts were provided in March 2019 where users could provide feedback and ask questions about the proposed local government rolling reforms.

Frequently asked questions

FAQs were answered after each webinar to provide more details on the proposed Local Government rolling reforms.

Dedicated hotline

Ph: 07 3452 6747.
The hotline is available between the hours of 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday. The department will endeavour to respond to any questions within 48 hours (business days).

Email

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