Councillor Disclosures

Section 449 of the Local Government Act, 1993 requires a councillor to complete and lodge with the General Manager, within 3 months of becoming a councillor, a return disclosing his or her pecuniary interests.

Section 442 of the Local Government Act, 1993 defines a pecuniary interest as one involving a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss to a person. A person does not have a pecuniary interest in a matter if the interest is so remote or insignificant that it could not reasonably be regarded as likely to influence any decision the person might make in relation to the matter, or if the interest is of a kind not required to be disclosed under section 448 of the Act.

For the purposes of the Act, a pecuniary interest is one held by the councillor, or his or her spouse, de facto partner, relative, partner or employer, or a company or other body of which the person, or a nominee, partner or employee of the person, is a member. However a person is not taken to have a pecuniary interest in a matter:

  • If the person is unaware of the relevant pecuniary interest of the spouse, de facto partner, relative, partner, employer or company or other body; or

  • Just because the person is a member of, or is employed by, a council or a statutory body or is employed by the Crown; or

  • Just because the person is a member of, delegate of a council to, a company or other body that has a pecuniary interest in a matter, so long as the person has no beneficial interest in any shares of the company or body.

The returns are designed to promote openness and transparency in local government, and to avoid a conflict of interest on the part of councillors who exercise decision making functions.

A Councillor’s disclosure return must contain details about the following information:

  • The address of each parcel of real property in which the person has an interest, and the nature of the interest;

  • Particulars of each disposition of real property by, or in arrangement with, the person under which he or she wholly or partly retained the use and benefit of the property or the right to reacquire the property;

  • A description of gifts received exceeding $500 in value (including gifts of a lessor amount that total $500 or more, made by the same donor with a 12 month period) and the name and address of the donor, unless the donor was a relative or the gift is a political donation required to be disclosed under the Election Funding and Disclosures Act 1981 (NSW);

  • The name and address of each person making a financial or other contribution to the councillor’s travel expenses, listing the dates and places of travel;

  • The name, address and principal objects of each corporation in which the person has an interest or holds a position, whether remunerated or not, including the nature of the interest or the position held, subject to certain exceptions;

  • The name of each trade union and professional or business association in which the person holds a position, whether remunerated or not, and the position of the description held;

  • Details of each source of income exceeding, or expected to exceed $500, that the councillor reasonably expects to receive during the period covered by the return, including details of:

    • Any occupation, and the name and address of the employer;

    • Any partnership arrangements the person has entered into;

    • In relation to income generated by trusts, the name and address of the settlor and the trustee;

    • In relation to any other income, a description sufficient to identify the person from whom, or the circumstance in which, the income was, or is reasonably expected to be, received;

  • The name and address of each person to whom the councillor is liable to pay any debt in excess of $500 for the return period, unless the debt is owed to a relative, or to an authorised deposit-taking institution lent in the normal course of business; or

  • Any other benefit, interest, advantage or liability whether pecuniary or not, that the person chooses to disclose