Elected member gifts and donations
Journalist Enquiry: Sarah Brookes, Seven West Media
Do councillors under LG Act or any other code have to disclose an impartiality interest or such if they are discussing and voting on a development application from an applicant that has made a donation previously to them?
What does the current code of conduct say about declaring developer donations to councillors or candidates?
If there is a register of developer donations to councillors or candidates where can I view it?
Does the CEO support strengthening disclosure of developer donations to councillors, candidates and City staff? Do City staff have to disclose developer donations and if so under what circumstances and is there a public register?
Does the CEO and mayor believe the WA Govt should follow the lead of eastern states jurisdictions which have banned donations from property developers to councillors and council staff?
The Local Government Act states that council members (s5.87A) and CEOs (s5.87B) are required to disclose gifts, including donations, that are received in their capacity as a council member or CEO. Under the Local Government Act, a Council Member must disclose a financial interest and is prohibited from participating in an item at Council if a person has given them a gift or an electoral gift.
Also, under the Local Government (Elections) Regulations 1997, candidates and donors involved in elections must disclose any electoral gift with a value of $200 or more that was given or promised during the disclosure period (being six months before Election Day) within three days of nominating. Any gift received after nomination is required to be disclosed within three days of acceptance of the gift. An electoral gift must be disclosed in a register on the City’s website.
Gifts are not covered in the City of South Perth Councillor Code of Conduct, but rather under the Local Government Act and regulations. The Elected Members and CEO Gift Register, and the 2021 (and 2019) Local Government Ordinary Election Gift Register is available on the City’s website.
The disclosure of gifts is covered under statutory provisions. Staff are also required to disclose gifts. The Staff Gift Register is available for viewing at the link provided above.
This matter will be discussed by Council when a report is presented for discussion.
Response attributed to City of South Perth Mayor Greg Milner
I fully support moves to make Council more transparent. I supported Cr Cridland’s notice of motion and was glad to see it passed unanimously by Council.
Currently all Councillors, including myself, declare all campaign contributions over $200, whoever they’ve been received from, and must step aside from any Council decisions where a campaign donor has a financial interest.
Speaking in my personal capacity, I would like to go even further, and require all serving Councillors to retrospectively declare all campaign contributions received, irrespective of when they were first elected or when the campaign contribution was received. A Councillor may well find themselves, in a year or two, in a position where they are making a decision that might affect a prior campaign donor, where that donor may have donated to that Councillor’s campaign in 2013, 2015, 2017 or any other election year. I intend to discuss this possibility with City officers and with the Western Australian Local Government Association.
- Phone 9474 0777
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org