25 September 2023

ICAC goes public on lobbying

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The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is to hold an inquiry into the need to regulate lobbying and access and influence in the NSW Government and Public Service (Operation Eclipse).

The Commission last examined lobbying practices in its 2010 report, Investigation into corruption risks involved in lobbying (Operation Halifax), after which Parliament enacted the Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011(LOGO Act).

ICAC said the public inquiry follows a discussion paper it released in April of this year.

It said Operation Eclipse would examine whether enhancements to the LOGO Act are required, as well as a broader approach to addressing risks associated with lobbying and influencing practices.

It said the inquiry would seek to addresses issues such as whether changes to increase lobbying transparency would improve levels of trust in Government; who should be required to register as a lobbyist; which records of lobbying activity should be kept and by whom; how to ensure fair and reasonable access to Government; and what interstate and overseas practices may be suitable for implementation in NSW.

“Operation Eclipse differs from investigations usually conducted by the Commission in that it is not concerned with examining whether any particular individual may have engaged in corrupt conduct, but rather seeks to examine particular aspects of lobbying activities and the corruption risks,” ICAC said.

It said ICAC Chief Commissioner, Peter Hall would preside over the inquiry, with Nicholas Chen to be Counsel Assisting the Commission.

The public inquiry is to commence on Monday 5 August for two-to-three days before adjourning until October.

The Commission’s 52-page discussion paper and the submissions it received can be accessed at this PS News link.

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