'Smallest ICAC in history': Corruption watchdog warns of job cuts without more funding: December 2019

WHY is this so?

IS it a convenient move? A form of protection for NSW INC political donors perhaps?

THOSE that inhabit the local office of Planning Ministers perhaps?

Or lurk in the back rooms of ‘The House of ill Repute’ in Macquarie Street Sydney?

WHO comes to mind of the Who’s Who of the Property Council of Australia, the Urban Taskforce, the Urban Development Institute of Australia, the Real Estate Institute of Australia and more … ?

Notorious for having pulled off the STING of high immigration …. visa manipulation with a ‘Permanent Resident Visa’ on buying real estate …

-the 100% sell-off of ‘new homes’ to foreign buyers … (FIRB Ruling)

-with the Real Estate Gatekeepers exempt from the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Laws as recently as October 2018

AND having changed the planning laws in New South Wales for higher density … exempt and complying development … the strata law changes allowing developers to bribe the majority of unit owners to sell thus forcing the remainder to sell out for redevelopment … none of this is crooked, is it?

-NSW Constituents, home owners have no rights!

READ MORE … it appears there has been a deliberate move by NSW INC to make ICAC and related organisations unsustainable …

THEN COPY AND PASTE THIS INTO AN EMAIL FOR YOUR CONTACTS!

‘Smallest ICAC in history’: Corruption watchdog warns of job cuts without more funding

Lisa Visentin
By Lisa Visentin

December 9, 2019

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The state’s corruption watchdog says it will be forced to shed a quarter of its full-time staff over the next financial year due to inadequate funding, reducing the organisation to its smallest size in its 30-year history.

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption has warned that without a funding boost it will be forced to make redundant 31 full-time employees from its 120-strong workforce in order to find savings of $4.7 million in 2020-21.

The ICAC's chief commissioner Peter Hall has previously said funding cuts would have a serious effect on fighting corruption.
The ICAC’s chief commissioner Peter Hall has previously said funding cuts would have a serious effect on fighting corruption.CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT

It is the first time the corruption body has put a staffing figure on the impact of budget pressures, after appealing to the state government earlier this year to address its funding concerns.

*The ICAC detailed its concerns in a submission to a NSW parliamentary inquiry, where it said a funding shortfall would have “an immediate and devastating effect on the commission’s frontline services and, therefore, its ability to fight corruption”.

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“This would reduce the commission’s FTE staffing level to the lowest number in the commission’s 30-year history,” the submission said.

Full-time positions “would need to be further reduced in each following financial year up to the year 2025-26” in order to meet “ongoing savings measures embedded in the forward estimates”.

*It follows similar concerns raised by the ICAC’s inspector, Bruce McClintock SCwho said in a report to parliament in October he was “concerned about the long-term sustainability” of the agency and urged the government to implement a new funding model that was “not subject to bureaucratic management or oversight”.

The NSW Ombudsman, the NSW Electoral Commission and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) also outlined funding concerns in written submissions to the inquiry into “budget process for independent oversight bodies”, which will hold a public hearing on Thursday.

*The organisations highlighted their inability to absorb budget cuts in line with the government’s three per cent “efficiency dividend”, and described the budget-setting process as lacking in transparency and consultation.

The NSW government, in a statement, said: “Under this government, integrity agencies will always be fully empowered and funded to investigate, expose and prevent corruption.”

A spokesman said the government would respond to the findings of NSW Auditor General Margaret Crawford, who Premier Gladys Berejiklian last month commissioned to review the funding arrangements and management of the four agencies.

Inquiry chair David Shoebridge, an upper house Greens MLC, said the submissions revealed a “high level of concern among these institutions that they will soon not have the resources to do the jobs they are by law required to do”.

“Having legal independence is one thing but it means very little if the government can prevent investigation by cutting off the money,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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The ICAC said it will receive $27.4 million this financial year, which it described as “barely sufficient to fund the commission’s work for the year”.

The forward estimates indicate it will receive $24.1 million next financial year, but the watchdog said it will need at least $28 million to cover “increases arising through inflation, rental and mandated staff salary increases”.

The NSW Ombudsman said it had “no ability to absorb the efficiency dividend without cutting staff”.

It said it was “inappropriate” to use the dividend as a mechanism for “siphoning funds away from oversight bodies’ statutory functions in order to increase the funding available for the government’s own priorities”.

This view was echoed by the electoral commission, which said integrity and electoral bodies created by Parliament “should not have to compete” with other government agencies for resources “in order to discharge their statutory functions”.

The LECC, which is currently holding an inquiry into the alleged illegal use of strip-searching by police at a Sydney music festival, said it would be forced to find more than $2.1 million in savings by 2022-23.

The agency said it had experienced a 17 per cent increase in complaints against police in 2018-19, but the “continual inroads” on its budget meant the number and quality of its investigations was “constantly under threat”.

Lisa Visentin

Lisa Visentin is a state political reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

The ICAC's chief commissioner Peter Hall has previously said funding cuts would have a serious effect on fighting corruption.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/smallest-icac-in-history-corruption-watchdog-warns-of-job-cuts-without-more-funding-20191205-p53h4g.html

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