Funding boost for SA watchdogs
South Australia’s anti-corruption bodies will receive almost $15 million in next month's state budget.
The state says it will boost the funding for the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and Office for Public Integrity.
The well be granted $7 million over four years in addition to another $7.5 million specifically to fund upgrades and establish a public hearing facility.
“We need to put our money where our mouth is,” Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said.
“ICAC has operated now for five years. It has continued to expose the deficits in public agencies.
“It's important that in any inquiry the public have confidence in the process that occurs.”
But the state’s ombudsman Wayne Lines says he is “perplexed” by the funding boost, given that he has an annual budget of just $3 million to field 4,000 complaints a year and referrals from the ICAC as well.
“It does seem imbalanced that ICAC, for the few number of maladministration and misconduct investigations has this large amount of funding, whereas I'm left with handing the bulk of those issues without any funding,” he said.
“ICAC's been in place for five years and meant to be focusing on corruption, you know, where are the big cases of corruption?
“We've got a sprinkling of individual misconduct or individual misbehaviour which has resulted in this referral to DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) and in some appearances in court but where are the big cases on organised corruption within government?”