Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said the Governance Policy Package represented four more ticks for the review.
Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said the Governance Policy Package represented four more ticks for the review. Rob Williams

Councillors handed tips to 'ethically' deal with developers

A THREE-page policy setting out how councillors should deal with lobbyists and developers to ensure "ethical and transparent contact" has been endorsed.

The tips for councillors were included in a suite of sweeping policy changes endorsed by the Ipswich City Council this week.

Elected people must "make clear to potential developers and lobbyists that they can provide general information on the application process but cannot give definitive advice about the developers or lobbyists' chance of success", under the proposed rules.

The document also declares councillors "must not in any way represent the council's possible attitude to the potential application".

Councillors will also be required to keep a written record summarising matters discussed during any meeting, telephone discussion, email or other correspondence.

"This written record should detail, as a minimum, the date and time of the meeting or exchange, a summary of the matters raised with the councillor and a summary of the councillor's response," the document said. 

A Capture and Retention of Public Records policy for councillors policy was also formalised to ensure "capturing and maintaining accurate public records".

The two policies, along with a councillor code of conduct, formed the Governance Policy Package "to guide the councillors and staff of the City of Ipswich in managing their various responsibilities".

It was endorsed by the City Management and Finance Committee on Tuesday and includes efforts to improve council transparency, Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said.

A governance review into the council last year recommended a code of conduct be reintroduced.

The long-awaited code notes ethical and behavioural obligations of councillors.

"It is vital that the public has confidence in Council's ability to ensure the good rule and government of its area," the document notes.

"Councillors are to conduct themselves in a way that promotes and maintains the public's trust and confidence."

Cr Antoniolli said the policy endorsement represented "four more ticks in the governance report".

"I was hopeful by the middle of this year we'd have the majority of that governance report completed - we're well on track," he said. 

The council's code of conduct could be trumped by State Government legislation, which Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said would set "very clear standards for councillors".