25 November 2020
Labor has voted with all other non-government members to pass an amendment to the Budget which ensures funding cuts to the Independent Commission Against Corruption are reversed and that funding for the anti-corruption watchdog keep pace with inflation.
The Legislative Council voted 24-16 in favour of these amendments, with only the Liberals and Nationals voting against.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said: “It is crucial that our anti-corruption watchdog is properly funded, but under this Premier it’s not.”
“Gladys Berejiklian has kept it on a drip feed, forcing it to repeatedly ask for more resources. On many of those occasions, no additional funds were provided,” Ms McKay said.
“It is unsafe to allow this situation to continue, particularly when we see so many issues where this Government should be under investigation.”
Labor has previously raised concerns about the ICAC’s budget and issues which could arise when decisions about annual appropriations are made by people who are involved or could be the subject of ICAC investigations.
An independent funding arrangement for the ICAC and other oversight bodies was recommended by the Upper House Public Accountability Committee earlier this year, and was supported in a recent report from the Auditor General.
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Adam Searle said: “The corruption watchdog must have proper funding that is above politics.”
“Evidence shows on several occasions the ICAC has requested additional funds and the Government has not granted that request, either in full or at least in part – and without reason,” Mr Searle said.
“Funding needs to be at arm’s length of the Government. Labor has voted to ensure this occurs” — Adam Searle MLC, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council