Welcome to the autumn edition of our integrity matters newsletter.
As the weather starts to cool, my team at the Inspectorate have been busy – both on the road and in the office. We have started to travel to visit councils in person more regularly, collecting information, interviewing face-to-face and giving presentations. The presentations provide a fantastic opportunity for councils to ask questions about compliance with the Local Government Act 2020, good governance and integrity.
Back in the office, we have launched a major review of governance documentation required to be created and updated under the 2020 Act. We requested documents from all 79 councils as part of an own-motion review.
We have also been working through some outstanding election matters. Our review of campaign donation returns during the 2020 general council elections led to issuing 108 official warnings. Overall we found transparency had improved compared to the last election period in 2016.
Meanwhile, our investigation of 216 ballot papers lodged during the Melbourne City Council election in 2020 resulted in issuing 20 real estate agents with official warnings. The ballots did not affect the election outcome but shows more work needs to be done to inform real estate agents of Victoria’s electoral laws.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission is seeking input for a report on the perceptions of corruption. And finally, I will speak at the Australian Local Government Women’s Association Victorian annual conference in June.
I look forward to meeting more of you online or in person soon.
Michael Stefanovic AM
Chief Municipal Inspector