The Local Government Act 2009 and other legislation requires the OIA to keep certain information confidential. The OIA must strike a balance between this legislative emphasis on confidentiality and the media’s right to report on matters of public interest.
When balancing confidentiality and accountability, the OIA will consider whether it is appropriate and fair to release information. In particular the OIA will consider:
- whether the OIA is required by legislation to keep certain information confidential
- the risk of prejudicing current or future investigations
- the rights of complainants, subject councillors and other people who may be confidentially assisting the OIA with its inquiries
- possible damage to the reputations of subject councillors, complainants and other stakeholders
Where privacy and stakeholder considerations and the protection of operational information take on significance, they must ultimately outweigh the release of information to the public.
In some circumstances the OIA may determine it is appropriate to release information. This may include;
- where the OIA has commenced proceedings in the Magistrates Court against a subject councillor charged with an offence under the Act
- where the OIA believes it is in the public interest to release information
- where information has been released by others in the public arena, or
- where the facts have been misrepresented or distorted.
Current complaints and investigations
In general, the OIA will not:
- confirm or deny whether it has received a complaint or is investigating a matter unless the complainant or the subject councillor makes it publicly known. If a matter becomes publicly known, the OIA may still not provide information to the media if there is a risk of prejudicing operational activities or where legal obligations require the OIA to maintain confidentiality.
- comment on matters that the OIA is prosecuting before the Councillor Conduct Tribunal or before the Magistrates Court.
If the OIA receives a request for information about a completed investigation, it will assess whether information can be released.
Cases finalised before the Councillor Conduct Tribunal
After a matter is finalised by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning will publish the Tribunal’s decision in that matter with reasons.
The OIA will report on its activities on this website and in Annual Reports.
Last updated: 13 Oct 2022