Posted on 04. Sep, 2013 in News
The Victorian Auditor General’s Office faces serious challenges and limitations in performing its vital public accountability role as a result of changes to the State’s integrity regime under the Napthine Government.
The significant weakening of the role of the Auditor General was outlined in the watchdog’s Annual Report 2012-13 which was tabled in Parliament today.
Shadow Minister for the Anti-Corruption Commission, Jill Hennessy, said the report showed the introduction of the Independent Broadbased Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) had left Victoria exposed to more, not less, corruption.
“The Auditor General makes it plain that the changes under the Liberals have made it much harder for his office to perform the functions of investigating corruption and holding public bodies to account,” Ms Hennessy said.
“The Liberals have created a scheme that has weakened not strengthened integrity in Victoria and has neutered the power of the State’s vital independent auditor.
“Crucially the Auditor General notes that the changes have impacted the independence of his office and the protections offered to safeguard that independence under the Victorian constitution.”
“This serious undermining of the public sector watchdog follows similar concerns expressed by the Ombudsman last year with the two traditional pillars of Victoria’s anti-corruption regime reduced to shadows of their former selves,” she said.
Ms Hennessy said the Auditor General cited that his office had to do “the same job with fewer resources” and that “recent staff reductions across the Victorian public sector and restructures associated with the budget cuts are challenging agencies and impacting on our audits.”
“Budget cuts are having a detrimental effect on scrutiny with fears that Government agencies will cut back on internal auditing and other accountability mechanisms which in turn places even more pressure on the Auditor General’s Office,” she said.
“The introduction of the IBAC regime has been plagued by delays and budget blowouts and the end result is deeply flawed.
“Due to the way the botched regime was introduced Victorians still don’t know the level of Ministerial involvement in the sacking of a Police Commissioner and IBAC fails to be utilised with serious allegations of police involvement in bikie gangs being investigated by police, not the IBAC.”