Council watchdog proposes changes to online code of conduct
STRICT social media guidelines have been proposed by an independent Local Government watchdog in the wake of dozens of councillor complaints across the state.
The move comes weeks after Fraser Coast councillor James Hansen was ordered to apologise for racially-charged comments made about an Indigenous State Minister on his personal Facebook page last year.
Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian said the guidelines covered the differences between councillors' official, election and private pages, moderation of comments and managing election campaign platforms.
She said the office had received 36 complaints about social media use since being established in December last year.
"They are designed to assist councillors with suggestions on how to deal fairly with public comments as well as learning how to warn and block people who do break the community rules," Ms Florian said.
"These guidelines strike a balance between ensuring councillors use of social media is appropriate and open to positive, negative, or neutral electorate feedback, while also supporting councillors to protect themselves against unacceptable online behaviour."
At least eight councils across the state are being investigated by the OIA.