Victoria’s corruption watchdog could be beefed up after complaining it can’t investigate some claims.
The Victorian government says it will consider changes to the integrity regime after the year-old watchdog called for stronger investigative powers.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) says there are cases where it has felt unable to investigate corruption claims because the allegations do not meet a high enough threshold under the legislation.
The IBAC also wants parliament to consider making it mandatory for heads of public sector bodies and local councils to notify it of corrupt conduct, as is already the case in other states.
The change should apply at the very least for more serious matters within the public sector, IBAC says.
Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said the government would carefully consider the various recommendations and suggestions made by IBAC.
In its report on its first year of operation, IBAC says it has been hamstrung by restrictions in the legislation which set it up.
“There have been corrupt conduct allegations where IBAC has not felt able to commence investigations because of threshold restrictions in the IBAC Act,” IBAC says in the report released Tuesday.
Not all the cases were suitable to be referred elsewhere and this may have undermined its objectives, it says.
IBAC also wants powers to investigate misconduct in public office, as is the case under other Australian integrity regimes.
In addition, it flagged the need for stronger protection for whistleblowers.
The watchdog says there are cases where people who have disclosed information appear not to qualify for whistleblower protection and this may deter whistleblowers coming forward with valuable information.
Mr Clark said the government has made clear it will monitor the IBAC legislation and take into account feedback from the IBAC commissioner about amendments.
“The government will now carefully consider the various recommendations and suggestions made by IBAC,” he said.