Greens NSW anti-corruption spokesperson Jamie Parker has called on the NSW Government to back proposals by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for increased and independent funding.
A report released in May by the ICAC described the current funding arrangements of the ICAC as unlawful because they are determined in part by the Executive Government.
Last October, the ICAC Chief Commissioner Peter Hall told the NSW Parliament Committee on the ICAC the agency’s ability to pursue investigations was under serious threat from funding cuts. He said $673,000 in funding cuts had left ICAC $3.94m short of the $28.84m funding it requires to “maintain the tempo of its operations”.
Jamie Parker, NSW Greens spokesperson on anti-corruption says:
“Given that the Premier is now in very close proximity to this ICAC investigation it is a significant conflict of interest that her Department also has oversight over the funding of the ICAC.
“This government still has the power to curtail the ICAC’s work simply by starving them of funding and it’s something we’ve seen them do year after year.
“In the last twelve years, the ICAC has applied for increases in recurrent funding seven times and only been fully successful twice.
“Repeated funding cuts to the ICAC directly impact its powers to investigate corruption and risk turning it into a toothless tiger. That’s why ICAC has made extraordinary appeals to the government for a new independent funding model and more certainty about long term funding.
“ICAC is the hero in this story and we have to do everything possible to make sure it has the funding and independence it needs to investigate anyone from a public servant to the Premier.
“The only people who benefit from a weak ICAC are corrupt politicians and public officials who seek to use public office for their own personal profit,” he says.
Jamie Parker MP sits on the NSW ICAC Committee.