Page 4637 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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Independent Integrity Commission—Select Committee—Report—Inquiry into an Independent Integrity Commission, dated 30 October 2017, together with the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

I am pleased to present the final report of the Select Committee on an Independent Integrity Commission. The notion of establishing an independent integrity body for the ACT is not a new one. There have been regular calls for such a body since self-government. At the 2016 election all three parties represented in this Assembly made commitments to act on integrity in government, including through the establishment of an independent integrity commission.

The ACT Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement committed to establishing an independent integrity commission and the committee was established by the Assembly on 15 December 2016. The committee’s purpose was to inquire into the most effective and efficient model for an independent integrity commission for the ACT and make recommendations on the appropriateness of adapting models operating in other jurisdictions. Key features of the commission that the committee has looked at include the personnel structure of a commission, governance and funding arrangements, what powers a commission should have, educative functions, issues regarding retrospectivity, and the relationship between a commission and existing accountability and transparency mechanisms in the territory.

The committee has given detailed consideration to these and other issues related to the ACT’s integrity framework. As part of its considerations the committee invited and received a range of submissions from interested organisations and individuals, as well as briefings from governance and integrity experts. The committee also visited anti-corruption bodies in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, where we spoke with staff from each body as well as members of their parliamentary oversight committees. The committee also heard from witnesses through public hearings in July and September 2017.

This process has reinforced the committee’s view that the ACT community and taxpayer has a right to expect that the social contract between government and the people is working in its interest. The committee acknowledges the correlation between the establishment of an effective anti-corruption and integrity-type body and improved accountability and trust in government.

Accordingly, the committee has recommended that the government establish a standing ACT anti-corruption and integrity commission, an ACIC, to investigate, expose and prevent corruption and foster public confidence in the integrity of the ACT government. The committee has recommended that the government finalise the establishment of the commission by the end of 2018. The committee considers it important that the commission is operating well before the completion of this term of the Assembly.

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