ICAC brings corruption prevention program to Illawarra region

Thursday 22 November 2018

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will visit the Illawarra next week as part of its rural and regional outreach program to bring anti-corruption initiatives and training to centres across the state.

The visit, to be based in Wollongong from 26 to 30 November, will include workshops for state and local government agencies to learn the latest ways to prevent corrupt conduct, and activities to help raise awareness in the broader community about corruption risks and the roles and functions of the ICAC.

Chief Commissioner the Hon Peter Hall QC said that corruption prevention is a major function of the Commission, and one way it performs that function is through training and upskilling public officials. “The ways in which to promote good practice and manage corruption risks are constantly evolving, so it is important to keep up-to-date with the latest information and techniques when dealing with risks to prevent corrupt conduct from occurring,” Chief Commissioner Hall said.

“We have 118 registrations from 33 agencies for the Wollongong workshops, which indicates that public officials located in the area are keen to learn about and enhance their corruption prevention skills and knowledge. This in turn will benefit the local community by promoting responsible and ethical practices in locally-based public sector agencies.”

Chief Commissioner Hall will host a community leaders’ forum on Thursday 29 November as part of the visit, which will also include Deputy NSW Ombudsman, Mr Chris Wheeler. Chief Commissioner Hall will discuss the roles and functions of the ICAC at the forum, while Mr Wheeler will talk about the role of the NSW Ombudsman.

Workshops scheduled for this visit include corruption prevention for managers, which focuses on developing an understanding of the nature of corruption, how and why it occurs, and what managers can do to prevent it; and fact-finder, which is an introductory workshop for those who may be required to conduct an internal fact-finding investigation into a complaint or allegations of staff wrongdoing, including misconduct or corruption.

New workshops developed since the Commission’s last outreach visit to the area will include corruption prevention for planning professionals, designed for town planners and related public officials working within the planning system; corruption prevention in procurement and contract management, which aims to assist managers and staff responsible for procurement to identify where systems weaknesses and corruption opportunities may lie; and good governance in small boards, which covers a range of topics and discussion about how local Aboriginal land council and non-government organisation board members and staff all play a role in building good governance in their organisations.

More than 50 people will attend the community leaders’ forum, including elected representatives and senior staff from local and state government agencies and community interest groups. Local agencies and groups attending the outreach activities include Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre, Community Industry Group, the Department of Primary Industries, Department of Family and Community Services, Illawarra Christian Education, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Illawarra Women’s Health Centre, Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, Land and Housing Corporation, Local Land Services, Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Illawarra, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, NSW Police Force, Nowra Local Aboriginal Land Council, Office of Environment and Heritage, Office of Local Government Revenue NSW, Public Works Advisory, Service NSW, Shoalhaven Women’s Health Centre, TAFE NSW and Transport for NSW. Wollongong City, Shellharbour City, Shoalhaven City and Kiama Municipal councils are also expected to participate.

The ICAC rural and regional outreach program has proved highly successful since its inception in 2001. Previous visits have included to the western NSW, the central coast, the Hunter, the south east, the central west, the north coast, the northern inland, the south coast, the far west, Riverina Murray and the Blue Mountains. The Commission’s rural and regional outreach program last visited the Illawarra in October 2009.

Enquiries and interview requests: ICAC Manager Communications and Media, Nicole Thomas, 0417 467 801.

News Directors/Ed’s note: Media are welcome to attend the Community Leaders’ Forum at the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach Norfolk Rooms 1 and 2, 2-14 Cliff Road North Wollongong, at 8.50 am. Please RSVP to Nicole Thomas at the above number or email nthomas@icac.nsw.gov.au by Friday 23 November 2018.