Canberrans will get the highest levels of oversight of the ACT Public Service and the Legislative Assembly, with the establishment of an ACT Integrity Commission one part of a package of measures planned to be introduced to the Assembly later this month.
Following extensive consultation and consideration of Assembly committee recommendations, the Government has today publicly released legislation to establish an ACT Integrity Commission ahead of its introduction in the Assembly.
The establishment of the Commission is an ACT Labor election promise and Parliamentary Agreement commitment. The proposed Commission has been modelled on best practice from similar entities operating around Australia.
The latest draft released today incorporates 52 of the 57 recommendations recently made by the Select Committee. This includes agreeing with a recommendation that the Commission should have the ability to investigate matters that were subject to a previous inquiry, investigate matters related to judicial officers and require mandatory reporting by all senior public servants. The Government will also review the Public Interest Disclosure scheme, as recommended by the Integrity Commission Select Committee.
The Government also plans to introduce legislation shortly which will ban donations from property developers to any political party in the Assembly, and close other loopholes potentially used to circumvent the spirit of election rules. Both ACT Labor and ACT Greens do not accept political donations from property developers. However, to ensure the highest levels of transparency, the Government is following the lead of other States in banning any party in the Assembly from accepting these sorts of donations.
The Government recently passed a motion in the Assembly to change Standing Orders to expand the scope of the Lobbyist Register to capture more individuals, companies and industry associations.
This package of integrity measures set to be introduced fully delivers the Labor Government’s comprehensive integrity platform, announced during the 2016 election campaign.
The ACT Government already has a number of levels of independent oversight and transparency. This includes the role of the independent Auditor-General, the independent ACT Ombudsman and the ACT Public Service Commissioner. In 2016, the Government and ACT Greens members worked together to amend the Freedom of Information Act to deliver the highest level of transparency on Government decision making.
This package of integrity measures should further strengthen the ACT community’s confidence in the Government’s decision making process. The measures will also provide appropriate oversight from independent bodies on the ACT public service.
Subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly, and the recruitment process for a new Commissioner, the ACT Integrity Commission is anticipated to be operational from 1 July 2019.
Legislation on the establishment of the Integrity Commission, and the ban on property developer donations, are planned to be introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly in the last sitting period of the year. The establishment of an Integrity Commission, the ban on donations from property developers and reforms to the Lobbyist Register are all items in the 2016 Parliamentary Agreement between ACT Labor and the ACT Greens.
The Bill for the establishment of the Integrity Commission, the Explanatory Statement and the Government response to the Select Committee report that will be tabled are available online. https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/industrial-relations-and-public-sector-management/act-integrity-commission.
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Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases
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