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East Gippsland councillor suspension upheld by VCAT

The decision by a councillor conduct panel to suspend East Gippsland Shire councillor Ben Buckley has been upheld by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

VCAT vice-president Judge Frances Millane made the determination on 23 August 2018 to uphold the four month suspension recommended by the panel, following Cr Buckley’s appeal against the decision made by the councillor conduct panel in August 2017.

As Cr Buckley has already served one month of the suspension, he is able to return as a councillor after three months.  

The Local Government Inspectorate completed an investigation into the release of confidential council information by Cr Buckley in February 2017. The three allegations were found to have basis and an application was made for a Councillor Conduct Panel to make three findings of serious misconduct against Cr Buckley. Two of the three allegations were found proven by the panel.

Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf said: “The Inspectorate supports VCAT’s decision to uphold the suspension against Cr Buckley. The actions of a councillor to release confidential information destabilises the operations of the council and damages the reputation of councillors across the state.”

Media outlets are advised a suppression order is in place for specific matters related to the outcome and to seek further guidance from VCAT or legal representatives before publishing details of the decision.

For other enquiries:

Steve Pogonowski, Senior Communications Adviser or 0437 541 972

Please note: As of 3 May 2018, the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate has formally changed and simplified its title to the Local Government Inspectorate. Please use our new title in any news articles, broadcasts or other communications. Thank you.