When a council member who is failing to appropriately perform their duties and is affecting the rest of the local government's ability to function effectively, it can have a widespread impact across the organisation and the community.
Following the passage of the Local Government Amendment (Suspension and Dismissal) Bill 2018, the Minister for Local Government will now be able to suspend or dismiss an individual council member, including any fees or allowances.
Previously, the Minister could only take action against an entire council, which has impeded a local government's ability to get on with the job of providing good governance to their community due to the actions of an individual.
The new laws will also enable a local government to recover any fees or allowances paid in advance to the member, for the period of suspension, ensuring they are held accountable for their actions.
Under the legislation, the Minister will also be able to provide an order for remedial action, with or without suspension, and suspend an individual councillor during a local government inquiry if it is likely the inquiry would be seriously prejudiced otherwise.
Local governments are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new laws by referring to the Ministerial Circular or visiting the Parliament House website for more information.