New law allows council changes without public notices

A NEW state law now allows changes to council policies - including those governing expenses and other perks - to be made without publishing a public notice.

Under State Government changes to the Local Government Act, the council can now change legislation with relation to councillor and mayor reimbursements, without putting an ad in the local newspaper.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said the changes were to cut red tape and not spend money complying with one-size-fits-all rules.

"Councils haven't been stopped from advertising and it's up to them to decide the best way to inform their community.

"In this instance they're still required to post the changes to policy on the council website."

Professor Charles Sampford, president of the international Institute for Public Ethics, said every effort should be made to ensure the community was clear on council changes.

"Transparency is highly desirable for many reasons," he said.

"The citizenry is entitled to know what is being done with the power they confer on their elected and appointed representatives and their money that is spent on their behalf."

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the council would still make the changes public.

"Council will advertise on its webpage and in its annual report as required under the legislation," he said.



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