Local, Politics

Codes of conduct and other possible “reporting issues”

There has been quite a bit of discussion around the Code of Conduct as a result of the 25 July Coffs Harbour Council meeting.

The Coffs Coast Outlook presents below without any further comment two sections that may be relevant to discussions around this. The first is from the Code of Conduct for NSW Local Councils 2018 and the second is from the ICAC Act 1988.

The 2018 Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW.

How are code of conduct complaints about councillors to be dealt with?

5.20 The general manager must refer the following code of conduct complaints about councillors to the Office:

a) complaints alleging a breach of the pecuniary interest provisions contained in Part 4 of the code of conduct

b) complaints alleging a failure to comply with a requirement under the code of conduct to disclose and appropriately manage conflicts of interest arising from political donations (see section 328B of the LGA)

c) complaints alleging a breach of the provisions relating to the maintenance of the integrity of the code of conduct contained in Part 9 of the code of conduct

d) complaints that are the subject of a special complaints management arrangement with the Office under clause 5.49.

See: https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/Model%20Code%20of%20Conduct%20Procedures%20-%202018_0.pdf

The Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (“the ICAC Act”)

Section 11 online reporting

The duty to report suspected corrupt conduct:

Under Section 11 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (“the ICAC Act”), a principal officer of a NSW public authority has a duty to report to the ICAC any matter where there is a reasonable suspicion that corrupt conduct has occurred or may occur.

A NSW Government minister is required to report suspected corrupt conduct to either the ICAC or to the head of an agency for which he or she is responsible.

A principal officer is the person who heads the public authority, its most senior officer or the person who usually presides at meetings. This is most commonly the chief executive officer or secretary of a state authority, or the general manager of a local council.

Reasonable grounds for suspicion mean there is a real possibility that corrupt conduct is, or may be, involved. No proof is required. If, as a principal officer, you are uncertain about whether or not to report a matter under section 11, please contact the ICAC’s Manager Assessments on 02 8281 5786. In general, the ICAC encourages principal officers to err on the side of caution and report the matter.

The ICAC Act contains no provision permitting delay in reporting. To delay can result in the loss of investigative opportunities for the ICAC. The duty to report overrides any duty of confidentiality. As it is a statutory duty, a principal officer is protected in making such a report from any civil or criminal liability.

See: https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/reporting/report-corruption/section-11-reporting-online


  1. I have been saying now for years & years that ICAC and the Auditors need to be brought in to sort out the “culture of past and present “…of what has gone on with Coffs Harbour City Council history.

    I am a firm believer in Karma… so I hope that this article is a step closer .

    I wished that Coffs Coast Outlook could be read by the Older generation that have paid their rates and no what has gone on in the past & present.

    Unfortunately so many are not online and get fed by their local Newscorp rag..the Coffs Coast Advocate with favouritism in my opinion that is towards Knight Mayor & Coffs Council Staff. It’s a joke!!!!

    Let’s see what Mayor Knight & INCOMPETANT GM Steve McGrath will do at Tomorrow’s Meeting at 5.00pm .

    Thankyou Coffs Coast Outlook for your FACTS that you report. A Credit too you all for giving your time so freely.

    Regards Max 🙂

  2. General Manager of Coffs Harbour City Council has an absolute duty to refer Councillor Adendorff’s conduct to ICAC (section 11). Sections 5.20 (a) and (c) would seem to me to be applicable. This whole Gordon Street affair is a tragedy. If Council genuinely wants to give the CBD a heart, the creation of a food bowl and sanctuary for the homeless to regain their dignity would be a great start and it would serve to balance the Club’s plans for expansion.

    Adoption of a policy of complete TRANSPARENCY is critical to bringing people back together, e.g. disclosure of rate payer funded documents; the valuation and Quantity Surveyor’s report and assumptions.

    It horrifies me that the desire for an Arts centre has become so great that some business people,; people who would, normally act prudently; have been prepared to throw caution to the wind; even to use the Gordon Street proposals as a promotional tool when they know the Gordon Street proposals are being hotly contested.

    Judgments of this magnitude; expenditure of $76.522 million UN-COSTED; should never be made. When BIG MONEY MATTERS are on the table, decisions should only be made after the people have been provided with ALL THE FACTS and been provided with sufficient time to digest the facts. It is patent the “consultative process” on the Gordon Street proposal failed. Janne C Lindrum

  3. Yes, THANK YOU Coffs Coast Outlook. FANTASTIC job. Janne C Lindrum

  4. Ron Richards


    Has what Cr Adendorff said on the public record at the Council meeting of 25 July in front of several hundred witnesses about meeting with potential buyers of Rigby House been reported to ICAC by the GM as required by S11 of the ICAC Act then?

  5. Archie Black

    Conveniently the Coffs Coast Advocate has been running a biased and at times deceptive agenda to curry favour with the decision makers at the Coffs Harbour City Council. It has utilised zero resources for any form of investigative journalism.
    While the focus has in recent weeks been on the proposed Council Offices known as “All Welcome”, what the Mayor, Cr.Adendorff, GM McGrath, Chamber of Commerce President Wells and CEX Board do not welcome is scrutiny of their back room processes and selected information being released coming under the microscope of the community through members of the community doing their research and insider whistle blowers on this putrid mess that has been building up under the so called leadership of the Council CEO. Council staff and Councillors are operating in a toxic environment that needs flushing out to rebuild community trust and confidence so that the entire Coffs Harbour local government area can progress and prosper and not just for few selected CBD property owners and favourites.
    After all Coffs Harbour begins Bundagen near Bonville , extends to Red Rock,Upper Corindi and west to Lowanna and Ulong. So as we see, our City is much larger than the pond known as the CBD. We await the LG Minister and Premier and ICAC to take expedited action to investigate all aspects of our Council and its executive management.

  6. It’s time for a change of the General Manager position. Beyond two terms is very unhealthy as we’re all now witnessing. If ICAC doesn’t disqualify this GM, a move should be made with an offer to pay him out to the end of his present term. It would be a whole lot cheaper for the good people of Coffs Harbour compared to what it will cost if he remains. Plus, it will clean-up some of the apparent rot both internally and externally.

  7. Thank you one & all for your concise views, all pointing in the same direction. Even to an untrained eye, it’s clear there’s subterfuge, mis management, self interest & downright disrespect to the Ratepayers & Resident’s of this our once Fair City.
    It’s apparent to all that this Council is determined to
    * have it’s way* ignoring the wishes of the masses to AGAIN prop up the CBD with monies we just don’t have to the detriment of the Greater Local Government Area.

    I don’t know how these things work, but wouldn’t it be lovely if a representative from the Office of Local Government came to the Council.meeting & placed this matter on hold……..
    I know…I know, a tad dramatic! BUT one can dream, can’t one??

    Thank you Coffs Outlook for your efforts in keeping us plebs informed.. cheers.

  8. Trish Welsh

    Having just discovered this site things to a post on the CCA Facebook, it’s great to read refreshing unbiased reports. Coffs Coast outlook will now be my preferred way of receiving news instead of the CCA

    • Hi Trish. You are a lady involved in Community so I am happy that you have discovered Coffs Coast Outlook .
      I am a reader ( not part of The Coffs Coastal Outlook Team) and have been a very happy man since discovering this website since June.
      The Coffs Coast Advocate is a Newscorp publication and biased. Last night Jamie Winnocot who organised the Petition against the Gordon St Project wrote a lengthy Facebook comment confronting the CCA and not long after it appeared it was deleted.
      They delete & edit all the time and it makes me so angry & it’s not local content that appears. Most of time. They are in trouble as not many people pay for subscription either I have been told from an insider.
      We need too share with others about Coffs Coast Outlook as it certainly is my preferred way of receiving news. Tonight may Mayor Knight change her wicked ways with her Casting Vote!!!

      Cheers Max 🙂

      • Hi Max,

        Interestingly we have a screen shot of that Facebook post of Jami’s that you refer to.

        Are you sure it was deleted? If so we do you think we may just have to publish it here at Outlook?

        • As far as I no it has been deleted. It happens all the time if Coffs Coast Advocate do not like hearing the TRUTH . I think it should be published.
          Regards Max

  9. Paula Strong

    So Rhodes was threatened by lawyers (friends of who, I wonder?) with ICAC for standing up for this community. Disgusting! As was Townley thinking something shared over coffee with Mayor Knight-Mayor was a formal matter. This Council has lost its way. Civil disobedience, anyone? How about those who disagree with the $76m mistake simply don’t pay their rates this quarter, just to let Council know who is actually against?

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