Caretaker Period for Local Government Elections

The caretaker period in preparation for the local government elections commences on Monday 29 January.

‘The requirements of the caretaker period provide accountability and ensure TRC resources are not used, or perceived to be used, to promote current Councillors standing for re-election,’ said Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gary Rinehart.

‘Legislation places limits during the caretaker period on making major policy decisions and publishing election material.

‘This ensures no significant policy decisions are made near the end of a Council term that bind future elected members.

‘Major policy decisions include:
• the appointment, remuneration or termination of a CEO
• entering into a contract greater than $500,000 (1% of our net rate and utility charges)
• significant procurement activities
• making, amending or repealing local laws
• making, amending or repealing a local planning instrument under the Planning Act 2016.

‘Election material is anything that could influence an elector about their vote, or affect the election results.

‘We’ve prepared for the approaching caretaker period by managing our day-to-day activities in the lead up to the election, and continuing to be transparent in our actions and decision-making.

‘As the election approaches we will provide equity and transparency between existing Councillors and new candidates regarding access to TRC resources, and ensure our actions do not, or cannot be perceived to, bind an incoming Council in its operational delivery.

‘Our employees will continue to be neutral, and TRC resources will not be used for electoral purposes.

‘We will still meet during the caretaker period for the purpose of making decisions in the public interest, and normal service delivery and business activities will be maintained, including administration support for Councillors.

‘It’s important that Councillors can continue to use TRC resources for the performance of their role and responsibilities as a Councillor until their term of office ends.

‘We’ll manage requests for information from candidates (including Councillors in their role as a candidate) the same way we deal with requests from the community.

‘Requests from candidates for information that is outside the public domain will be referred to the appropriate agency,’ said Mr Rinehart.