An anti-corruption and integrity body designed to investigate allegations of serious misconduct in the public service will be funded in the upcoming ACT budget.
The government will set aside $8.4 million over the next four years towards the establishment of the ACT Integrity Commission, in a move they hope will strengthen confidence in the public administration system.
The funding allows for the allocation of 10 full-time equivalent staff, including an integrity commissioner.
The Integrity Commission will have oversight over Members of the Legislative Assembly and their staff in relation to the most significant and serious allegations of misconduct.
The commission would have jurisdiction over public officials, including senior public servants and public sector officials, and statutory office holders including boards, committees and tribunals. Misconduct allegations relating to lower-level public servants will be covered within current public sector investigative arrangements.
The commission will not have oversight over the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
It has in principle support to have oversight of ACT Policing, with Chief Minister Andrew Barr having written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the issue.
Judicial officers including judges and magistrates will remain under the jurisdiction of the Judicial Council and Judicial Commission, established in February 2017, to ensure the separation of powers.
The ACT Integrity Commission would not displace the Legislative Assembly’s Commissioner for Standards, although it could result in the modifications of the existing arrangements.
Legislation to define the functions of the body is currently being drafted and is due to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly by the end of 2018.
It is understood that the commission will have limited scope to investigate retrospective allegations.
The implementation of an ACT Integrity Commission was promised by all parties at the last election.
It is expected to be operational by mid-2019.