Council members, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other local government employees occasionally receive gifts. As part of the Local Government Act Review a new gift framework has been developed that provides a transparent system of accountability, so that members of the community can have confidence in the decision-making of their elected representatives.
Council members and the CEO must declare any gift received in their capacity as a council member or CEO valued at $300 or above (or the cumulative value of gifts from one donor exceeds $300 in a 12-month period). Section 5.87A and 5.87B.
If a council member receives any gift valued at $300 or above and the donor has a matter before council, the council member must disclose an interest and remove themselves from the meeting (unless approval is granted by council or the minister). The donor becomes a closely associated person in accordance with section 5.62.
Similarly, gifts received by the CEO will exclude them from involvement in a matter requiring a local government decision (unless approval is granted by council or the minister).
Gifts that will not create an interest are those involving attendance at events as approved by council in accordance with the attendance at events policy, and those from specified entities.
The new definition of a gift in the Act now includes contributions to travel.
The CEO has made a determination, under regulation 19AF of the Local Government (Administraion) Regulations 1996, that the threshold amount for employees to accept gifts is $20.
CEOs are responsible for publishing and maintaining a gift register on the local government's website, which needs to be updated within 10 days of a disclsure being made.