City con­sid­ers more on­line reg­is­ters

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Joel Kelly

THE pub­lic could soon have on­line ac­cess to a range of in­for­ma­tion – gifts, travel, political and com­mu­nity group af­fil­i­a­tions, fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests and more – about City of Bel­mont coun­cil­lors.

A mo­tion passed at the last coun­cil meet­ing, aimed at im­prov­ing per­cep­tions of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity, asked that the chief ex­ec­u­tive de­velop fur­ther pol­icy to make reg­is­ters avail­able to the pub­lic.

Coun­cil also voted to au­tho­rise the chief to pub­lish the gift and hos­pi­tal­ity reg­is­ter and travel reg­is­ter on the City’s web­site.

The cur­rent sys­tem re­quires mem­bers of the pub­lic to re­quest reg­is­ters at City of Bel­mont’s civic cen­tre.

Coun­cil­lor Pa­trick Gard­ner raised the orig­i­nal mo­tion on pub­licly avail­able reg­is­ters last Au­gust.

The orig­i­nal mo­tion in­cluded pro­vi­sion for on­line ver­sions of the fi­nan­cial in­ter­est reg­is­ter, travel reg­is­ters and coun­cil­lor gift and hos­pi­tal­ity reg­is­ter.

How­ever, coun­cil­lor Robert Rossi pro­posed to ex­pand the dis­cus­sion on on­line reg­is­ters to in­clude political af­fil­i­a­tions, com­mu­nity group af­fil­i­a­tions and closely as­so­ci­ated per­sons’ fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests and af­fil­i­a­tions.

Cr Rossi said the City al­ready had a good record on trans­parency.

“This pol­icy will sim­ply for­malise what we al­ready do,” he said.

“There is noth­ing new here; it pro­motes to­tal trans­parency and re­moves the chance of any mis­un­der­stand­ing or wrong­do­ing.”

Mean­while, on­line re­port­ing of gifts and travel con­tri­bu­tions were man­dated for all lo­cal gov­ern­ments in WA un­der new leg­is­la­tion that took ef­fect on March 4.

Pre­vi­ously, the Lo­cal Govern­ment Act only re­quired dis­clo­sures of gifts and con­tri­bu­tions to travel in the re­ceiver's an­nual re­turn. The on­line reg­is­ters are ex­pected to be avail­able by the end of March.

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