And look out for this...

Members need to be aware of the current provision in the Code of Conduct known as the Wollongong provision when it was introduced. It’s found at the section titled “Inappropriate interactions” and prevents at 7.5(i)“Council staff meeting with applicants or objectors alone AND outside office hours to discuss applications or proposals.”

This was entirely appropriate when it went into the Model Code because the ICAC had revealed Council staff working away from the office and outside hours. Everyone assumed it prevented Council staff not meeting with developers outside hours and off the premises.

But we are aware of at least one Council which has taken the view that this, in its broadest interpretation, prevents employees of the Council when they are not working (that is, out of hours or on weekends) giving advice or assistance to friends and family in any dealing with the Council.

And when we checked this interpretation with the Office of Local Government, they agreed that in a broad sense that kind of activity could be affected. WTF?

Beware of this risk. Everyone needs to check whether their Council reads this provision as broadly as this before you help your Mum get an application together.

We will deal with the unreasonably broad interpretation of this provision in our submission.

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