The State Government will provide $14.5 million in additional resources to support the operations of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and to enable the ICAC to hold public hearings.
The 2018-19 State Budget to be handed down on Tuesday 4 September will include $7 million over four years for the ICAC and Office for Public Integrity to support its operations, with a further $7.5 million of investing expenditure over four years for IT systems upgrades, office accommodation fit out for space currently used by the Ombudsman, and the establishment of a public hearing facility.
“The new State Government is delivering on its election commitment to facilitate open ICAC hearings in the interests of openness and accountability,” said Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.
“The previous government was addicted to secrecy and continually blocked attempts to legislate for open ICAC hearings, despite the ICAC himself calling for the ability to conduct maladministration and misconduct investigations and hearings in public.
“Since forming government, we’ve introduced legislation to enable public hearings, and now we are backing that up with funding in the 2018-19 State Budget.
“The severe failings of Oakden brought to a head the need for greater transparency in South Australia when such serious matters are being investigated.
“South Australians voted for open and transparent government and that’s why we have introduced legislation to ensure public hearings can be undertaken publicly when it is in the public interest to do so.
“This funding boost further supports the ICAC and the Office of Public Integrity to carry out its statutory functions, along with the delivery of education programs and its investigation activities.
“We are also investing $7.5 million over four years to upgrade IT systems and appropriately fit out Currie Street office accommodation currently occupied by the Ombudsman, who will be relocated.
“Importantly, the State Government will make arrangements for the design and establishment of a public hearing facility which will allow access to both the media and the South Australian public.
“The ICAC had demonstrated a clear need for extra funding to do its job – funding which was not provided by the former Labor government.
“The Marshall Government recognises the importance of an independent integrity body, and the need to resource it properly.”