Page 576 - Week 02 - Thursday, 20 February 2020

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To support the Integrity Commission in its new assessment and triage activities, the bill also transfers the oversight functions the Public Sector Standards Commissioner currently has under the PID Act to the Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner will now be able to give advice about public interest disclosures, monitor the management of public interest disclosures by public sector entities, and review the ways in which public sector entities investigate and deal with PIDs generally or on an individual level, and undertake and coordinate education and training programs about our public interest disclosure framework.

This work will complement the education work already within the remit of the commissioner. Further, the Integrity Commissioner will issue guidance for disclosers and advice on the management of disclosures to be adopted by ACT public sector entities. Importantly, the Integrity Commissioner will also be able to ensure just outcomes for people who make public interest disclosures, including by preventing and remedying the effect of detrimental action against those disclosers. Adequate protections are central to confidence in our integrity framework. People coming forward to report matters and those asked to provide evidence about matters should feel no fear of detriment because of their actions.

The bill also extends the protections afforded to disclosers to witnesses, as well as more fully encompassing protections for disclosers and those assisting in disclosure investigation in appropriate circumstances. The bill also sets out improvements to capturing data about public interest disclosures and assigns a function to the capture and reporting of public interest disclosures to the Integrity Commissioner. This was a further important recommendation of the independent review. To reduce complexity and red tape, the bill also requires all agencies to provide details of their disclosure officers to the Integrity Commission and in their annual reports.

This bill delivers important improvements to our integrity framework, including a triage approach to receiving disclosures, consistent assessment by skilled officers, and a whole-of-system data collection. This will enable our public interest disclosure framework to be more reactive, through systematic and thorough responses, and more proactive, through an improved whole-of-system analysis and identification of risk.

The bill reduces complexity and increases protection for disclosers, as well as encouraging a more proactive disclosure culture to support transparent and robust responses to matters of integrity. The bill effects extensive improvements to encourage a more proactive disclosure culture within the public service and in the Legislative Assembly. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Amendment Bill 2020

Ms Stephen-Smith, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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