Redland councillors will undergo testing if they are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the workplace after a new policy was adopted for elected representatives this month, bringing procedures in line with a handful of other councils across Queensland.
Council’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Guideline states that councillors, officers, employees and contractors are required to have a zero blood-alcohol concentration for “high-risk” work and a BAC less than 0.05 per cent for all other work.
The guidelines also state that there is zero tolerance for the use and presence of “testable drugs”, with the policy placing heavy emphasis on “eliminating risks associated with the adverse effects of impairment”.
Alcohol and other drugs are defined in the council policy document as alcohol, opiates, cannabinoids, cocaine and amphetamines, but excludes things like prescribed dosages of prescription medication.
According to the policy, testing will be undertaken where reasonable suspicion has been established that a councillor is under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the workplace.
The policy also applies when councillors are undertaking official business, such as attending formal or informal meetings, meeting with residents or travelling to and from official duties.
Councillors overwhelmingly supported the policy at the June general meeting held last Wednesday, with only Cr Julie Talty dissenting.
The policy will be reviewed after three years.
Cr Adelia Berridge tabled a motion in January calling for council to adopt a drug and alcohol policy for elected representatives, saying it would close “loopholes” in the system.
She noted that Mackay Regional Council had adopted a similar policy in 2022 and said Redlands should follow suit.
“As councillors are respected community leaders and have a responsibility to ratepayers, a certain level of conduct is expected at all times,” Cr Berridge said.
Cr Rowanne McKenzie tabled the item at the meeting last Wednesday, saying the policy aimed to provide a “safe, healthy and productive workplace”.
Discussions on the item wrapped up in less than two minutes.