Complaint statistics for the July 2018 to June 2019 comparison against the July 2017 to June 2018 period.
The actual number of complaints is not necessarily an effective indicator of the seriousness of the matters raised. In some cases the council may be the subject of campaigns, usually about a single controversial issue. This can distort the council’s reputation if there is in fact no maladministration on the council’s part and the issues relate more to concerns about a particular decision. The Office of Local Government (OLG) generally will not investigate such issues provided the council’s decision is lawful and proper processes are followed.
July 2018 to June 2019 NSW report
Below is a chart showing details of the complaints received about councils by OLG during the July 2018 to June 2019 period by keyword.
OLG received 819 complaints in 2018-19, compared to 823 in 2017-18. These complaints were spread over 112 councils. The total number of complaints received this year represents a consistent number against complaints received last year. OLG also received eight complaints which did not specify the name of the council that the matter related to.
In 2018-19 OLG received 31 allegations of breaches of the pecuniary interest provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act). There was one formal investigation of a pecuniary interest matter referred to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) in this period.
There was one pecuniary interest matter determined by NCAT during 2018-19. The councillor was found to have breached the pecuniary interest provisions of the Act by participating in a matter at a council meeting in which he had a pecuniary interest. The councillor was reprimanded.
Councillor misconduct and political donation complaints
In 2018-19 OLG received 46 complaints alleging misconduct by councillors. One complaint alleging a breach of the political donation provisions was also received in this period.
Ten investigations under the misconduct provisions were commenced during this period.
The Departmental Deputy Secretary determined two misconduct matters during 2018-19. One councillor was reprimanded for inappropriately interacting with a council employee. The other councillor was directed to apologise to a council employee and a councillor, to cease engaging in the misconduct and was suspended for a period of two months for committing an act of disorder at a council meeting and for an inappropriate interaction with a council employee.
One public inquiry into Balranald Shire Council was commenced in 2018‑19.
The public Inquiry into Blue Mountains City Council continued during the reporting period.
Details can be found on the OLG website at the following location: https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/public-inquiries.