ICAC calls for submissions on NSW lobbying

Tuesday 18 May 2010

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is calling for public submissions to help inform its investigation into potential corruption risks in the current lobbying regulatory system and practices in NSW.

This investigation is the first of its kind in which the Commission will hold a public inquiry looking at systems issues rather than specific allegations of corrupt conduct. Submissions to help inform the investigation and public inquiry are sought in response to the ICAC's Lobbying in NSW – An issues paper on the nature and management of lobbying in NSW, which was released today. The paper aims to generate community and agency response on the nature of lobbying in NSW, and whether changes need to be made to the current regulatory system.

"It is paramount that elected representatives and public officials make their decisions with fairness and in the public interest," the ICAC Commissioner, the Hon David Ipp AO QC, said.  "All their dealings with lobbyists must be conducted with the highest levels of openness and accountability.

"Some of the issues raised in this paper include that almost half (49%) of the 272 registered lobbyists listed in NSW had a background in politics, either as Members of Parliament or, more commonly, as ministerial staffers or political advisers," Commissioner Ipp said. "However, while there is a NSW Government Lobbyist Code of Conduct, there is no specific legislation in the state regulating the conduct of lobbyists or the public officials with whom they deal.

"Also, the current lobbying regulatory regime in NSW does not apply to some government-related entities such as statutory state owned corporations and local councils, so it is not known to what extent they are subjected to lobbying.

"The Commission is keen to receive feedback from stakeholders on what they think about current lobbying procedures in NSW, and whether changes need to be made to promote transparency, accountability and fairness to reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of corrupt conduct," Commissioner Ipp said.

The Commission is seeking submissions from lobbyists, those that are lobbied, lobbying regulators, academics, public and private sector organisations, members of the public and other interested parties. The Commission will prepare a public report at the conclusion of the public inquiry, which is expected to be held later this year.
 
The issues paper and further information about the submissions process can be accessed here. Submissions may be emailed to icac@icac.nsw.gov.au or posted to the Solicitor to the Commission, GPO Box 500, Sydney, 2001.

Submissions should be received by the Commission no later than 5pm on Wednesday 23 June 2010. Anyone interested in lodging a submission who cannot access the internet is welcome to contact the Commission on (02) 8281 5999 or 1800 463 909 for assistance.