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Inappropriate conduct

The OIA does not investigate or decide inappropriate conduct complaints.

The OIA can only assess complaints as potential inappropriate conduct.

If it assesses a complaint as potential inappropriate conduct, it must, by law, refer the complaint back to the council to decide.

As this is the lowest level of councillor conduct assessed by the OIA, the OIA aims to deal with complaints quickly.

If councils receive inappropriate conduct complaints, they must be referred to the OIA to assess.

If a complaint, on the face of it, is assessed as potential inappropriate conduct

  • The councillor will receive a letter asking for their view on the substance of the complaint, i.e., their side of the story, before the OIA makes a final assessment of the complaint.
  • The councillor is usually given five working days to respond, so the OIA can either dismiss or refer the matter quickly.
  • If you need more time to respond, please ask for an extension.
  • The OIA is required to send this letter to councillors by law under section 150AA of the Local Government Act.

If complaint is assessed as potential inappropriate conduct

  • The OIA must, by law, send the complaint back to the local government to deal with.
  • Councils investigate inappropriate conduct in accordance with their Investigation Policy.
  • The OIA can recommend how the council should deal with the matter.
  • If a council rejects the OIA’s recommendation it must pass a resolution in a council meeting, stating its reasons.
  • It is the council that decides whether a councillor has engaged in inappropriate conduct.
  • The OIA has no power to review a council’s decision about inappropriate conduct.
    • The OIA aims to assess inappropriate conduct complaints within 21 working days.
    • The OIA has no control over how long a council takes to finalise an inappropriate conduct complaint.
    • A letter will be sent to the complainant/councillor/local government when a complaint is assessed as potential inappropriate conduct and referred to the local government.
    • If the complaint is dismissed by the OIA after assessment, the complainant/councillor/local government will be notified.
  • It is inappropriate conduct when a councillor contravenes a behavioural standard (a breach of the Code of Conduct for councillors in Queensland), or a policy, procedure or resolution of council, an order of the chairperson of a council meeting to leave and stay away, or when a councillor receives orders for unsuitable meeting conduct three times in one year.

Last updated: 24 Mar 2022