Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission has enjoyed a “significant” second year, with the state’s first public hearings into alleged serious corruption, the anti-corruption Commissioner Stephen O’Bryan QC says.
Releasing IBAC’s annual report on Monday, O’Bryan argued the past year’s activities had helped raise awareness of corruption and its impacts.
“In our second year of full operations, we have taken a strong stance to publicly expose corruption and police misconduct. Not only did we hold our first public examinations, we laid 145 criminal charges, saw our first matter where charges were laid result in a conviction, and flagged numerous corruption risks through public reports and prevention initiatives,” he said.
“Our actions serve both as a valuable lesson for public sector agencies to help improve their systems and practices, and as a warning to those acting corruptly. They also give Victorians the confidence to speak out about corruption, with the knowledge that IBAC will investigate thoroughly and fairly.”
In the 2014/15 year, IBAC:
- held its first public examinations for Operation Fitzroy and Operation Ord, as part of investigations into alleged serious corruption in large state government departments and agencies;
- finalised 15 investigations, resulting in 24 recommendations for improvement and 145 criminal charges;
- reviewed Victoria Police internal investigations into alleged police misconduct and corruption, conducting 114 reviews and returning 19 as deficient;
- reviewed state government agency investigations into alleged corruption for the first time, returning three of five as deficient;
- assessed 4443 allegations of corruption and misconduct, providing protected disclosure status for 210 allegations;
- flagged public sector corruption risks through in-depth research projects, publishing six reports and research papers, and conducting more than 100 prevention initiatives.
Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings is in the process of reviewing Victoria’s integrity system, with legislation to implement changes promised at the election — including strengthening IBAC’s powers — expected by the end of the year.
“Looking ahead, we are encouraged by the government’s review of the integrity system and what it potentially means for strengthening our legislation and ability to effectively uncover and expose corruption,” O’Bryan said.