Should the New South Wales Lobbying Act apply to local government officials?
According to the Supreme Commissioner of NSW ICAC Peter Hall QC, the answer is yes. He reviewed state legislation on lobbying government officials and recommended that it apply to local governments.
The Government Employee Lobbying (LOGO) Act currently excludes local government employees from the definition of “government employee.”
This means that the law does not apply to councilors and does not face the same level of lobbying regulations as other civil servants in the state.
But in a report released last week, Survey on lobbying, access, and influence regulation in New South WalesThe Corruption Oversight Agency states that legislation needs to be amended to protect the public interest from being described as “an inherent lobbying risk of corruption and undue impact.”
He also states that lobbying is common in local governments, and Congress faces a considerable risk of undue influence and should also be regulated by logo legislation.
“By extending the provisions of the Logo Act to local governments, in particular, lobbying regulators have the right policies and procedures that best suit the situation of the local council, especially planning, land use, environmental and community equipment,” said the commissioner. Hall says.
Councilor who does not like other civil servants
The Supreme Commissioner notes that there is reason to oppose extending the logo law to the council.
These include the risk of over-regulating sectors that are already covered by the Model Code of Conduct. Examination..
Councilors are also different from other types of civil servants. They mainly play part-time roles and receive very little compensation.
Also, local councilors generally do not have their own staff, offices, or budgets, so they are usually approached by lobbyists in informal settings, making it difficult to scrutinize meetings.
However, according to IACC analysis, since 2008, the local government sector has accounted for nearly 60% of all reports to public agencies in NSW related to lobbying-related complaints.
There were 113 current and previous councils nominated in those complaints.
The report states that local governments are involved in most state and federal initiatives with new infrastructure, land-use changes, or environmental impacts.
“Inevitably, this attracts lobbying for local councils,” the report said.
This report extends lobbying activities, including expanding the Code of Conduct for lobbyists to create obligations for government officials and lobbyists, establishing an NSW lobbying committee, and creating a list of former civil servants who have transitioned to lobbying. Shows a total of 29 recommendations for.
The report states that the movement of former civil servants between the government sector and lobbying roles is currently unregulated.
“The Commission’s view is that post-employment restrictions should be considered for a wider range of employees in the high-risk category,” he says.
Ministers and parliamentary secretarial advisers who are “sufficiently senior” should also be banned from lobbying for 12 months after quitting their jobs.
The survey also recommends that a wide range of lobbyists, including in-house lobbyists, need to be registered.
While lobbying can have positive consequences, Hall committee members also say that it can also have goodwill and corruption.
“The key finding of the investigation is that we need to improve the monitoring of lobbying in NSW. This will enforce lobbying regulation and detect inappropriate lobbying and improper impacts. We can focus more specifically on sanctions, “he says.
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When regulating lobbying of local governments
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