Perth Council reaffirms commitment to transparency, accountability report

Perth Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios. Picture: Facebook
Perth Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios. Picture: Facebook

PERTH Council received a new report on transparency and accountability at the council meeting on Tuesday evening and reaffirmed its commitment to continuing reform.

Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios welcomed the report, noting that it arose from motions he had put to Council last year.

“We still have a long way to go to achieving best practice,” he said.

Cr Limnios praised the “brilliant” work of City staff and asked chief executive Martin Mileham about the next steps.

Mr Mileham said the recommendations of the report would be incorporated into the City’s new community plan.

After the meeting, Mr Mileham said the City supported a “holistic approach to management and community relations across three key areas: transparency, participation and accountability”.

“Public access to data and community engagement are vital to an Open Government approach and this methodology counter balances calls for more regulation, which complicates processes and increases governance costs,” he said.

Mr Mileham said the City had initiated and implemented a number of transparency measures since January last year, “primarily in the interest of better serving ratepayers and the community, though with an additional benefit of providing further support to Elected Members to properly fulfil their obligations under the Local Government Act”.

This came a week after Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi faced a two-day State Administrative Tribunal hearing into her gift and travel contribution declarations.

Mr Mileham noted the reforms included:

·       Discontinuing the practice of accepting bulk ticket and hospitality packages as part of sponsorship arrangements;

·       Publishing online Travel and Gift Registers for Elected Members and staff with Delegated Authority;

·       Facilitating the preparation of reports by Elected Members and Officers for all conferences and speaking engagements attended in an official capacity;

·       Uploading of audio recordings of Council meetings to the City’s website the day after the meeting;

·       An online travel register, updated monthly;

·       That travel paid for by a third party must be approved by Council; and

·       A register of interests for Elected Members and staff.