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Media policy

The Local Government Act 2009 (the Act) and other legislation requires the Office of the Independent Assessor (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, or where the OIA believes it is in the public interest to release information, or where 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 a 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.

Completed investigations

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 Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs will publish the outcome of that matter with reasons.

Public reporting

The OIA will report on its activities on this website and in Annual Reports.

OIA Social media community rules

The Office of the Independent Assessor maintains social media channels.

Comments and posts will be responded to when possible between the hours of 9-5.

This is a supportive online community that is built on respect. Everyone is encouraged to participate in an open and constructive conversation about relevant topics.

Official posts will be treated as public records.

Comments guideline

OIA social media pages are moderated in a way which recognises that everyone has a right to comment and engage with the content, in a way which may be positive, neutral or negative.

However, comments or posts which do the following will be removed and a repeated contravention of these rules, will result in the person being blocked from the page.

  • Harass, abuse or threaten a councillor, council staff or a member of the public
  • Attacking someone based on their age, gender, impairment, political beliefs, race, religion or sexuality
  • Use obscene or offensive language
  • Constitute spam or solicit business

Comments that negatively impact the experience of other community members may be removed and those posting such comments will receive a warning. If anyone continues to post such comments after receiving two warnings, they may be blocked from the page.

Social media pages are not for official complaints or feedback. Please make a complaint here.

Last updated: 30 Nov 2021