This month’s edition of the Corruption and Integrity Update considers new corruption prevention resources released by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC); the CCC’s call for submissions on influencing practices in Queensland; and the CCC’s release of its investigation into allegations of disclosure of confidential information at the Integrity Commissioner. We also dive into the finals report arising from the Coaldrake Review released on 28 June 2022 and the Investigation Workshop released on 4 July 2022.
Earlier this month, the CCC released three new resources that highlight the importance of safeguarding public resources from exploitation and theft. These resources follow a corruption audit of seven agencies conducted by the CCC in 2021 to ascertain how effectively they had:
The CCC has also recommended that agencies may need to strengthen policies relating to the consumption of fuel due to the massive increases in fuel prices. To assist, CCC has released a standalone guide to assist agencies in developing programs to prevent bulk fuel theft.
On 17 June 2022 the CCC called for public submissions on a range of topics relating to influence, decision-making, and transparency in Queensland.
The CCC’s discussion paper indicated that access to government decision-makers was a key driver for individuals and organisations seeking to influence legislation, policy, and the awarding of contracts and grant by the Government. The CCC referred to research suggesting influence can be sought in a number of ways including political donations, gifts and other benefits, the leveraging of personal and political associations and the use of registered lobbyists. The CCC has repeatedly expressed concerns that these practices may increase the risk of corrupt practices and an erosion of public confidence in government.
The CCC commenced an intelligence investigation in 2021 to examine the practices used by the private sector to access government decision-makers and influence policy, ultimately finding that there has been a surge in lobbying activities in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery substantially contributing to this.
The CCC is calling for submissions from the public on key areas relating to influence and access in Queensland, including:
Submissions close on 15 July 2022. Read more about the call for submissions on the CCC website.
The CCC recently tabled the ‘Investigation Workshop’ final report, being its investigation into allegations of disclosure of confidential information at the Integrity Commissioner following an alleged ‘raid’ and seizure laptops. The CCC concluding that:
Recommendations for the ongoing suitability of information security arrangements were also made by the CCC.
Professor Peter Coaldrake’s final report into culture and accountability in the Queensland public sector was released on 28 June 2022. The final report entitled ‘Let the sunshine in’ focuses on the integrity of the public sector and presents recommendations aimed towards untangling the ‘congested and complex web’ of anti-corruption bodies. The Coaldrake Review was prompted by what are described as a number of controversies and issues that ‘go to matters of trust and to debates about the independence, transparency, integrity, accountability and impartiality’ of the public sector.
The 100+ page final report details significant background context to Queensland’s integrity framework, before making a series of recommendations for improving that framework going forward. Key recommendations include:
The Queensland government has committed to accepting all recommendations stemming from the Coaldrake Review and has identified relevant individuals to oversee the implementation of the recommendation.
Stay tuned as we shed more light on the contents of the report over the coming days and weeks.
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Daniel Maroske, Director
Angela Szczepanski, Director
At Gadens, we have extensive experience assisting clients in responding to both CCC and OIA investigations and hearings.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Daniel Maroske, Director or Angela Szczepanski, Director should you require any assistance in matters involving the CCC/OIA or if you would like to arrange a presentation on investigations and hearings with your organisation.