Autumn 2020 - Local government integrity matters

April 2020

This is my first opportunity to introduce myself to the local government sector, and to thank you for the engagement I’ve enjoyed with several councils so far.

This is a challenging time for the whole sector and my team wishes to extend our thanks for your patience and understanding as we grapple with the wider impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. My team will be working from home for the foreseeable future but will remain in contact with the sector and continue to receive and assess information and complaints as normal.

Some major events occurred before the pandemic took hold in Australia, including the passing of the new Local Government Act, which received Royal Assent on 24 March.

The new Act will introduce some important changes to council and election processes with some improvements, such as mandatory training for candidates and code of conduct processes, influenced by recommendations from the Inspectorate.

The State Government also dismissed Whittlesea City Council after many examples of dysfunction and conduct issues. The former Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf, who has been appointed an IBAC Deputy Commissioner, recommended a Monitor be placed at the council last December ( https://www.lgi.vic.gov.au/monitor-recommended-whittlesea-city-council) and required that had instigated a councillor conduct panel be formed to make a finding of serious misconduct against a Whittlesea councillor before the dismissal.   

We look forward to engaging with you throughout the year and providing support where possible to assist in coping with impacts of the current pandemic.

Dr John Lynch PSM

Acting Chief Municipal Inspector

Reviewed 01 April 2020

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