Our winter newsletter discusses some recent investigations, prosecution outcomes and upcoming work that all aim at improving the transparency, integrity and accountability of local government in Victoria.
A concerning trend has been the increase in allegations of councillors leaking confidential information, which, if proven, can have wide-ranging negative impacts on councils. While there are recent well-publicised instances on a national scale of whistleblowers exposing poor public sector conduct through leaks of classified material, many of the cases we have investigated appear to involve councillors misusing their position to benefit themselves, friends or business associates.
As the demand for the Inspectorate’s services increases, I want to acknowledge the Victorian Government for providing additional resourcing in the recent State Budget, noting the broader jurisdiction the Inspectorate now works under through recent changes to the Integrity Act and anticipated updates to the Local Government Act. The new resources will allow us to deal with complaints and respond to complainants more swiftly, while concurrently undertaking more investigations and audits across the state.
We have recently been sharing our learnings across a wide range of stakeholder groups and all of these have been valuable opportunities to provide guidance and education to audiences such as incoming MPs, regional councils and the LGPro Emerging Leaders group.
Finally, we anticipate a website refresh to be completed before the next newsletter is published. Web developers and content writers from the Department of Premier and Cabinet have been working with us to improve the layout and navigation of our site, which should help new and returning visitors find information more easily. I’ll keep you in touch with any further updates on our work through my Twitter account .
David Wolf, Chief Municipal Inspector
Reviewed 27 November 2019