Tasmania's council code of conduct system is being inappropriately used to threaten councillors into acting in particular ways, their peak body says.
The Local Government Association of Tasmania said it was clear changes to code of conduct provisions in the Local Government Act had delivered some unforeseen and "less than positive" outcomes.
" ... LGAT believes that, in some cases, code of conduct is being used inappropriately to threaten councillors into doing/not doing or saying/not saying something as part of their role," chief executive Katrena Stephenson wrote in LGAT's submission to the state government's review of local government legislation.
"This is clearly not a desirable outcome and one which, perversely, could affect the ability of genuine complainants to get a fair hearing."
Dr Stephenson said there was also concern there had been deficiencies in administrative processes and code of conduct panel decision making at times.
In LGAT's 2017 submission on code of conduct provisions, it said some residents had weaponised the code, leaving councillors "seriously exposed to persons holding personal grudges against councillors because of who they are or what they represent".
LGAT is also seeking changes to the Local Government Act to return councils the power to charge rates on independent living units owned by charities when the occupants do not get charitable services beyond those provided to the wider community, including to people in their own homes.
The move stemmed from a 2018 Supreme Court determination that independent living units owned by charities met a requirement for rating exemptions under the act regardless of the occupants' personal circumstances.
"That is, even wealthy, self-funded retirees were exempt from rates if living in an ILU owned by a charity," the LGAT submission said.
"This issue is a question of equity.
"Is it acceptable or equitable that residents of these residential village units do not pay rates and, therefore, do not contribute to the services and facilities of their respective cities' communities, while low-income pensioners in their own homes do pay?
"Independent living units are ... accommodation designed for independent, active retirees who do not require special assistance with day to day living.
"What distinguishes them from aged care facilities is that independent living units are used as normal and private residences, just like a standard home."
It said councils had not rated aged care facilities or short-term welfare housing and had no intention of changing that.