Interim Administrator of Ipswich City Council, Greg Chemello. Photo: Cordell Richardson
Interim Administrator of Ipswich City Council, Greg Chemello. Photo: Cordell Richardson

Conflicts of interest no reason not to run for council

POTENTIAL candidates have been urged not to be deterred by possible conflicts of interest when considering running for council in the next local government elections.

Ipswich City Council Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said it would be almost impossible to be a councillor without having a conflict of interest.

"Conflicts of interest are nothing to be scared of or used as a basis of not running," Mr Chemello said.

"A combination of the state legislation, the Office of Independent Assessor, and council's own policies and meeting procedures all now provide a framework for how you deal with conflicts of interests.

"The key is just to disclose. If you have a personal interest in something, you must disclose and leave the room. If you have a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest, you would declare those."

A local business owner is able to serve as a councillor as long as they appropriately manage conflicts arising through their role as a councillor. It is not uncommon across Australia for business owners to serve as a councillor in the same local government area.

Candidates who have already put their hand up and others who are intending to run attended an information session held by the council last week.

Mr Chemello outlined the 50-page Election 101 document he had compiled.

He said the candidate checklist and other key chapters including, what good governance means, the challenges and opportunities ahead, and your election campaign, would be of enormous benefit to potential councillors and the future mayor

The council said as part of its business transformation, it had put in place a support mechanism to assist councillors to appropriately declare any conflict that may arise in a transparent and upfront manner.

The integrity commissioner is also available as a resource to assist elected representatives in making decisions around this. They also provide a fact sheet and some examples on their website.