Councillors in Western Australia will soon need to disclose
gifts and contributions to travel within 10 days, and the details
will be published online.
The new requirements are contained in the City of Perth Bill,
which is currently before the parliament and is expected to come
into effect from 1 July 2016.
The aim of the changes is to provide greater transparently and
accountability of local government elected members to the
community, and to allow members of the community better access to
The City of Perth Bill amends sections 5.82 and 5.83 of the
Local Government Act 1995 (WA), (Act)
which set out the disclosure requirements of 'relevant
persons' (being elected members and designated employees) for
gifts and contributions to travel respectively.
The definition of 'gift' under the Act remains the same.
It is very broadly defined to mean, amongst other things, any
disposition of property or the conferral of any other financial
benefit without adequate payment in return.
The existing exceptions to the requirement to disclose gifts and
contributions to travel remain unchanged. These include gifts worth
less than $50 in total or contributions from family members.
New requirements for the disclosure of gifts and contributions
Under new section 5.82 of the Act, a relevant person must
disclose each gift in writing to the local government's Chief
Executive Officer within 10 days of receipt of that gift.
Previously the requirement was to disclose the gifts in the annual
The disclosure is to include:
a description of the gift;
the name and address of the person who made the gift;
the date the gift was received;
the estimated value of the gift at the time it was made;
the nature of the relationship between the relevant person and
the person who made the gift.
The requirements for disclosure of a contribution to travel
under new section 5.83 of the Act are the same as that for a gift,
except that the disclosure to the CEO must also include a
description of the travel and the date of the travel.
Offences for failure to disclose
A relevant person must comply with the requirements to disclose
a gift or a contribution to travel under section 5.82 and 8.53. A
penalty of $10,000 or imprisonment for two years applies.
The CEO is to keep an online register of gifts and
contributions to travel
Under new provision 5.89A, the CEO is to keep a register of
gifts and contribution to travel, which is to contain the
disclosures made by the relevant persons. The register is to be in
the form that is prescribed (if any).
The CEO is to make the register available to the public, and to
publish the register on the local government's official
As soon as practicable after a person is no longer a councillor,
or otherwise ceases to be a person required to make a disclosure,
the CEO is to remove from the register all records relating to that
person. However, the CEO must keep for a period of at least five
years the disclosures removed from the register, and make these
available for public inspection.
The new disclosure requirements will come into force as soon as
the City of Perth Act is enacted. This is expected to be 1 July
Kott Gunning Recommendation
Local Governments should currently be preparing policies and
procedures to comply with the new requirements, and ensuring that
it's elected members and affected employees are aware of the
new disclosure requirements.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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