The NSW Government will act on recommendations made by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to fortify local government and the planning system against corruption following its investigation into the former Canterbury City Council.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes today released a joint action plan that will strengthen councils against corruption and safeguard against any misuse of the planning system.
“The ICAC’s findings and recommendations act as a reminder that we need to remain ever-vigilant about corruption,” Mr Stokes said.
“We’ve already introduced a raft of reforms to guard against corruption and strengthen the integrity and transparency of our systems, including the creation of independent planning panels to determine controversial proposals.”
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the NSW Government is committed to protecting councils and their communities from those seeking to misuse their positions.
“We already require council election candidates to publicly declare if they are a property developer or a close associate of a property developer,” Mrs Hancock said.
“Our new action plan will bolster the defenses of councils against corruption with increased monitoring of data and decisions, as well as stronger requirements around the ethical responsibilities of councillors and general managers.”
The NSW Government will work with the ICAC on implementing the action plan which includes:
- Developing a new risk-based monitoring framework, using data from the NSW Planning Portal, to ensure misuse is more easily detected;
- Updating guidelines enabling performance agreements of council general managers to include indicators related to ethical culture;
- Council business and briefing papers to include a reminder to councillors of their oath or affirmation, and their conflict of interest disclosure obligations;
- Audits checking compliance with Gateway Determination conditions for rezoning proposals; and
- Examining the appropriateness of capital investment value as a metric for planning pathways, and possible clear, robust and verifiable alternatives.
Action on a number of reforms is already underway, with many scheduled to be completed by the end of the year and all to be undertaken by 30 June, 2022.
For more information and to view the action plan, visit Local Planning and Zoning.