Victorian councillors' phone use to be made public

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Victorian councillors' phone use to be made public

Personal calls lead to $18,000 bill.

City of Darebin councillors will have the value of their official phone usage posted online every quarter, in an effort to stamp out the abuse of IT resources within the Victorian council.

Victorian Ombudsman George Brouwer looked into the City of Darebin operations in 2012 and found some members were abusing their publicly-provided privileges, including one councillor who had run up an $18,000 mobile phone bill in three years. 

Victorian local government minister Jeanette Powell yesterday announced she would appoint auditor Peter Lewinsky as a “monitor” to the council for the remainder of its term to “to ensure good governance in the use of public funds.”  

“I have accepted all the Victorian Ombudsman’s recommendations from his investigation because councils need to embed a culture of good governance within their systems and processes and in the behaviour of both councillors and council staff,” Powell said.

The Ombudsman never publicly released his report into Darebin Council, but wrote in his 2012-13 annual report that block voting practices were unfairly swaying planning decisions and the abuse of IT entitlements for personal gain.

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