City backs disclosure laws

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson last month announced the Government had worked with the Opposition in introducing transparency and accountability measures, including a 10-day reporting period for gifts and travel contributions received.

The announcement came after Perth Mayor Lisa Scaffidi was found by the Corruption and Crime Commission to have failed in her duties in not disclosing gifts and contributions to travel in her annual return.

Mr Simpson said changes would mean gift and travel disclosures would need to be declared within 10 days of receiving them and available for inspection on local governments� websites.

Bayswater Mayor Barry McKenna said city regulations ensured councillor transparency and that the code of conduct for elected and committee members already required them to disclose gifts, conflicts of interest and financial interests.

�In addition to the code of conduct, the members are required to comply with the statutory provisions of the Local Government Act 1995, and the Local Government (Rules of Conduct) Regulations 2007, in relation to gifts, interests and contributions to travel in the annual returns,� Cr McKenna said.

�The city has had gift and travel disclosure in place for many years, just like many other councils in WA.

�Councillors are required to notify the chief executive if they have accepted a notifiable gift from individuals or organisations while acting in their capacity as a representative of the city, in accordance with the requirements of Local Government (Rules of Conduct) Regulations 2007, regulation 12.

�A Gift Declaration Form has to be competed and this information is recorded in the city�s gifts register.�

Cr McKenna said the 10-day reporting period was reasonable.

WA Local Government Association (WALGA) president Lynne Craigie said she was disappointed not to have been provided with the opportunity to gauge members� response and contribute to the proposed amendments as there had been no formal consultation from the state.

Mrs Craigie said WALGA supported transparency in local government and she did not see any problems with the changes or creating online lists. Lauren Pilat