IBAC is holding public hearings into allegations of serious corrupt conduct in relation to planning and property development decisions at the City of Casey council.
The hearings are part of an IBAC investigation, Operation Sandon, into allegations of corrupt conduct involving councillors and property developers in the City of Casey in Melbourne's south-east.
The first round of the public hearings ran from 18 November to 6 December 2019. Hearings recommenced on 2 March and were adjourned on 17 March 2020 until further notice as a precautionary measure in consideration of public health.
The hearings focus on:
- the transparency and integrity of planning and property development decision making within Victoria, including but not limited to, the provision of donations and in kind assistance to candidates at State and local government elections that may give rise to actual or perceived corruption
- whether public officers involved in planning and property development decision making have been improperly influenced through donations, gifts, pro bono services or other hospitality
- the circumstances surrounding any actual or potential financial benefits obtained by any public officer, their families or their associates, resulting from, or otherwise in connection with, planning and property development decision making within Victoria
- whether the use of professional lobbyists or planning consultants to lobby State and local government has resulted in undue influence over planning and property development decision making within Victoria
- the systems and controls in place within public bodies concerning planning, with particular focus on the existence and adequacy of systems and controls for ensuring the integrity of the planning process, including by detecting instances of public officers obtaining corrupt benefits or being unduly influenced by individuals lobbying on behalf of vested interests
- if the investigation of the above matters identifies serious corrupt conduct on the part of one or more current or former public officers, the extent to which (if at all) organisational culture and practices have fostered that conduct or hindered opportunities or attempts to detect and eliminate that conduct.
The hearings are being presided over by IBAC’s Commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich QC. Counsel assisting is Michael A Tovey QC of the Victorian Bar together with Amber Harris, Principal Lawyer of IBAC.
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to report it at www.ibac.vic.gov.au/report or phone 1300 735 135.