The Greens have condemned the government’s refusal to support their proposal to grant the Independent Commission Against Corruption an additional $7.3 million in funding.
This follows an unprecedented amendment to the budget bill moved by the Greens on Tuesday and supported by the Legislative Council to provide the funding in this month's state budget.
The government chose to disregard the amendment and send the budget to the Governor for assent without the consent of the Legislative Council.
The $7.3 million would cover the shortfall of funding identified by the Chief Commissioner of the ICAC. That shortfall is likely to increase particularly if ‘efficiency dividends’ continue to be imposed on it.
Greens MP and Anti-Corruption Spokesperson Jamie Parker said:
“Everyone in this Parliament wants to make sure ICAC has the money it needs to tackle corruption – except the government.
“The government is hiding behind a constitutional fiction to try and deny the ICAC the funding it desperately needs.
“This funding proposal has been rejected by the government in the very same week that the Premier has tried to claim that spending $250 million of public funds to win elections is acceptable.
“The work of the ICAC has never been more important but this government is trying to gut our corruption watchdog in an effort to avoid all accountability.
“The continued refusal of this government to grant ICAC the funding it needs is now having a direct impact on the ICAC’s corruption fighting capacity.
“While it may serve some to see the capacity of the ICAC curtailed, the public expects that our corruption fighting agency should have all the resources it needs,” Mr Parker said.
Greens MP and chair of the Public Accountability Inquiry into ICAC funding David Shoebridge said:
“When we have a Premier boasting of her pork barrelling there is never a more essential time to properly fund ICAC.
“This struggle to properly fund ICAC is far from over and the Greens are committed to doing what it takes, including court action if needed, to ensure the funding sticks in the next budget cycle.
“We can’t have the Premier being caught up in an ICAC hearing one day and stripping out its funding the next.
“As a Greens MP I am appalled by what we have seen from the Premier this week and from the feedback I’ve received form the public, I am far from alone,” Mr Shoebridge said.
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