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A councillor has a material personal interest in a matter if a decision or action taken by the local government or any of its committees on that matter may result in a direct or indirect benefit or loss to any of the following:

  • the councillor
  • a close relative (spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling) of the councillor
  • an employer of the councillor
  • a body or organisation of which the councillor is a member
  • another person prescribed under regulation.

(Local Government Act 2009, section 172 (2); City of Brisbane Act, section 174):

Councillors must declare material personal interest

If you have a material personal interest you must tell the meeting about your interest and leave the meeting while the matter is discussed and a decision is made.


The legislation does provide some exceptions. A councillor does not have a material personal interest if the:

  • local government is considering an 'ordinary business matter' (such as setting rates and charges or adopting the council budget)
  • councillor's interest is no greater than that of other persons in the local government area.

Failure to declare a material personal interest

If you fail to disclose a material personal interest you may be guilty of an offence which carries a maximum penalty of a $22,000 fine or two years imprisonment. If convicted of this offence, a councillor is automatically disqualified.