City considers more online registers

A motion passed at the last council meeting, aimed at improving perceptions of transparency and accountability, asked that the chief executive develop further policy to make registers available to the public.

Council also voted to authorise the chief to publish the gift and hospitality register and travel register on the City’s website.

The current system requires members of the public to request registers at City of Belmont’s civic centre.

Councillor Patrick Gardner raised the original motion on publicly available registers last August.

The original motion included provision for online versions of the financial interest register, travel registers and councillor gift and hospitality register.

However, councillor Robert Rossi proposed to expand the discussion on online registers to include political affiliations, community group affiliations and closely associated persons’ financial interests and affiliations.

Cr Rossi said the City already had a good record on transparency.

“This policy will simply formalise what we already do,” he said.

“There is nothing new here; it promotes total transparency and removes the chance of any misunderstanding or wrongdoing.”

Meanwhile, online reporting of gifts and travel contributions were mandated for all local governments in WA under new legislation that took effect on March 4.

Previously, the Local Government Act only required disclosures of gifts and contributions to travel in the receiver’s annual return. The online registers are expected to be available by the end of March.