Productive year for Victoria's anti-corruption agency
Victoria's independent anti-corruption agency, IBAC, had a successful and productive year in 2018/19, with key achievements including a significant increase in corruption investigations finalised.
Tabled to Parliament today, IBAC's annual report outlines the agency's performance for 2018/19, which included completing 45 investigations and preliminary inquiries, a 221 per cent increase on the previous year.
As a result of these investigations, 16 people were charged with offences under various State and Commonwealth statutes. As part of its corruption prevention focus, IBAC made 50 formal recommendations for public sector agencies, including Victoria Police, to improve their systems, practices and controls, a significant increase on the previous year.
"The greatest value derived from a completed investigation is the identification of any organisational failings that may have contributed to misconduct," IBAC Commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich QC said.
"IBAC's recommendations follow an investigation and provide organisations an opportunity to review and strengthen their policies, systems and practices to help prevent further corruption or misconduct from occurring," Commissioner Redlich said.
A focus for IBAC's work in 2018/19 was to raise awareness of behaviours and cultures that can help public sector corruption flourish, and that public sectors leaders need to address.
"Frequently we think of corruption as only the most serious and extreme misconduct or criminal behaviour. Often we fail to recognise that more minor transgressions such as favouritism, nepotism, and misuse of information are lesser forms of corruption," Commissioner Redlich said.
"Ignoring these perceived minor misconducts, puts an organisation on a path towards the normalisation and acceptance of corruption. Public sector leaders must recognise that wherever such conduct is allowed to occur with impunity, more serious corruption can develop and flourish."
The last year has seen IBAC required to respond to a range of additional obligations including the Royal Commission into Management of Police Informants and the commencement of the new Public Interest Disclosure regime. IBAC has also sought to increase the number of investigations of serious police misconduct and the review of investigations that we have referred back to Victoria Police's Professional Standards Command for investigation.
"As IBAC's operations continue to grow, so therefore does the funding required to deliver our important work. We will continue to put a robust business case to government for responsible and sustainable increases to our funding to ensure that our work to foster a corruption-resistant public sector in Victoria is sustainable over time," Commissioner Redlich said.
Other key achievements for 2018/19 include:
- assessing more than 5800 allegations of suspected corruption or police misconduct resulting from complaints and notifications
- commencing 38 new investigations and preliminary inquiries. Of these, 18 were ‘own motion’ intelligence-led investigations
- holding public examinations for Operation Gloucester into the statement taking practices of Victoria Police
- delivering a broad range of corruption prevention initiatives including a community awareness campaign, Yes, it's corruption. Yes, I can do something about it. and two regional Integrity Insights forums (Ballarat and Horsham)
- publishing four research reports exposing corruption and misconduct risks.
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