The Andrews Labor Government has disgracefully cut funding to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and Parliamentary Committees in today’s State Budget.
With Daniel Andrews and Labor’s property developer donations and meetings highlighting current IBAC investigations, and a new inquiry into three Andrews Government ministers and allegations of branch stacking within the Labor Party, the government has taken the axe to IBACs funding.
In recent weeks IBAC has exposed entrenched corrupt conduct in Victoria’s public sector, IBAC has uncovered cavalier activities that should worry all Victorians.
Budget cuts that will constrain investigations are unacceptable.
Is Daniel Andrews worried that an adequately resourced IBAC will uncover more activities that implicate his government?
There is also an ongoing probe into the long-running CFA pay dispute that also includes an investigation into the relationship between the Labor Government and the United Firefighters Union.
It’s no surprise Daniel Andrews doesn’t want to fund this important integrity agency. This is a government which does everything it can to cover-up bad behaviour and avoid scrutiny.
Last month IBAC warned a lack of funding from the Andrews Labor Government means it can’t probe all allegations of government misconduct and police integrity concerns.
Commissioner Redlich has warned that IBAC will not be able to maintain current services and its capacity to expose and prevent corruption will be further curtailed and significantly impacted.
Just last sitting week, Daniel Andrews told Parliament:
“IBAC will receive more funding than it has ever received before. That is the way it works. If that is a point of contention, well, people are free to have a different view. The government will make announcements on budget day about funding to integrity agencies and I boldly predict that they will receive a funding increase on what they received last year, and I would be surprised if that did not mean they receive more in this coming year than they have ever received beforehand.”
Parliamentary Committees which are currently looking into Victoria’s COVID response, contact tracing, Management of Child Sex Offender Information and access to TAFE for learners with a disability has also been cut.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Budget Office and the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office has had no increase to their funding, despite also pleading with the Andrews Government for more funding to Victoria’s integrity agencies.
Comments attributable to the Shadow Special Minister of State, Kim Wells:
“What exactly does the Premier have to hide by cutting funding to IBAC?”
“IBAC need to be properly funded to expose and prevent corruption in Victoria.”
“At the same time the Andrews Labor Government is being investigated for branch stacking and political donations they are disgracefully cutting IBAC’s funding.”
“With at least three current investigations looking into Labor’s corrupt behaviour, Victorians should be disgusted that Andrews cuts funding to the very agency investigating them.”