IBAC gets funding boost in response to Lawyer X royal commission findings

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday May 7, 2021

The Victorian Supreme Court had held the federal government responsible for security guards on Manus Island failing to protect Berati and other detainees during a 2014 riot.(Craig/Adobe)

Victoria’s corruption watchdog will receive increased funding under a new plan to strengthen the state’s criminal justice system.

Attorney-general Jaclyn Symes on Friday said the state government would make a ‘significant investment’ in the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission.

The announcement is part of the government’s response to the final report of the royal commission into the management of police informants, which examined Victoria Police’s use of ‘Lawyer X’ Nicola Gobbo as a secret informant.

Symes said the government would act on every finding made by the royal commission through an implementation plan and a funding package worth $87.9 million.

“The commission made serious and significant findings — getting to the bottom of matters that go to the heart of our criminal justice system,” she said.

“We’ve already made substantial progress, but there’s a long way to go. Our response and implementation plan sets us a clear pathway to deliver long-lasting systemic and cultural change.”

In response to the recommendations, the government will establish a special investigator, and will provide IBAC and the courts with more resources.

Read more: Police want to report corruption, but fear repercussions

The government has already implemented ten recommendations which had a three-month deadline, including the establishment of an implementation monitor and the cross-agency Implementation Taskforce. Sir David Carruthers has been appointed as implementation monitor.

The government will appoint a special investigator soon, and will introduce legislation to support the role in the second half of 2021.

The Andrews government’s plan also responds to the report of the former IBAC committee’s inquiry into the external oversight of police corruption and misconduct in the state, Symes noted.

She said a systemic review would ensure Victoria has a robust and accountable system of police oversight, by delivering legislative reform that places a stronger focus on the needs of complainants and victims of police misconduct.

“We’ll work closely with Victoria Police, integrity agencies, community legal centres and community groups on the review so police oversight is strong and transparent, while meeting the needs of our diverse communities and backing the integrity of Victoria Police,” Symes said.

Legislation to reform the disclosure and human source management frameworks is also being developed, with disclosure reforms expected to be introduced later this year.

Symes will report annually to the Victorian Parliament on the implementation of the royal commission recommendations until they are complete.

Read more: Where to now for Victoria’s revamped integrity system?


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