The Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government Steven Miles today announced a staffing boost for the Office of Independent Assessor (OIA) to help keep up with demand.
Mr Miles said more than 1000 local government councillor-complaints this year have been referred to the OIA.
“We have allocated an additional $250,000 till the end of 2020-2021 to support an increase of three additional staff,” the Deputy Premier.
Prior to OIA’s establishment in December 2018, councillor-conduct complaints were managed by the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.
“We established the OIA as part of our government’s commitment to local government reform, to assess and investigate councillor conduct complaints.
“Thanks to the Palaszczuk Government’s strong reforms, Queenslanders can continue to expect their councillors to be strong and fair representatives for their community.
“The continuing high number of complaints received is likely due to the heightened focus on integrity in local government, previous under-reporting, and increased confidence in raising issues with an independent body.”
When established it was anticipated the OIA would receive approximately 160 complaints a year. In 2019-20, the OIA received 1030 complaints containing 1097 allegations.
“Despite this huge increase, in 2019-20, the OIA completed 75 per cent of assessments within 21 working days,” Mr Miles said.
“This is a credit to the hardworking team who dealt with this significant increase in assessments needing to be completed.
“I’d like to commend the Office of the Independent Assessor for their outstanding work in managing such a high caseload.
“The additional funding will ensure the Office of the Independent Assessor continues to have the resourcing necessary to efficiently, effectively and transparently manage complaints about the conduct of Queensland councillors.”