27 September 2023

PS corruption watchdog a step closer

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The establishment of an Integrity Commission for the ACT public sector is to take a step forward this month when a package of measures is introduced into the Legislative Assembly.

Announcing the move, Chief Minister, Andrew Barr said it followed extensive consultation, and consideration of recommendations made by an Assembly Select Committee.

Mr Barr said the establishment of the Commission was an election promise and its proposed form was modelled on best practice from similar entities operating around Australia.

“The latest draft incorporates 52 of the 57 recommendations made by the Select Committee, including a recommendation that the Commission should have the ability to investigate matters that were subject to a previous inquiry; investigate matters related to judicial officers and require mandatory reporting by all senior Public Servants,” Mr Barr said.

“The Government will also review the Public Interest Disclosure scheme, as recommended by the Integrity Commission Select Committee.”

He said the new Commission would be an independent body that would have the power to investigate corruption in public administration.

The Integrity Commissioner would be an Officer of the Legislative Assembly, appointed by the Speaker.

“The establishment of the Commission will not change the way that ACT Public Service staff, statutory office holders and political staffers are expected to work,” Mr Barr said.

He said Assembly recently passed a motion to change Standing Orders to expand the scope of the Lobbyist Register to capture more individuals, companies and industry associations.

“This package of integrity measures set to be introduced fully delivers on the Government’s comprehensive integrity platform, announced during the 2016 election campaign.”

The Chief Minister said that subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly, and the recruitment process for the Commissioner, the ACT Integrity Commission could be operational from 1 July 2019.

He planned to introduce the required legislation in the last sitting period of the year.

The 260-page draft law to establish the Integrity Commission can be accessed at this PS News link and the Government’s 15-page response to the Select Committee’s recommendations can be accessed at this link.

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