Staff from the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the New South Wales Ombudsman’s office were in Cobar last week as part of their rural outreach program.
ICAC staff conducted a number of workshops delivering corruption prevention information and techniques to various government and non-government agency staff from Cobar, Bourke and Dubbo.
The visit concluded with a Community Leaders Lunch on Friday at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club with guest speaker the Hon Megan Latham, Commissioner, ICAC and was attended by various government agency staff members, local business leaders, as well as leaders from the schools, churches, community groups, police, Rural Fire Service, Local Aboriginal Lands Council and Cobar Shire Council.
Ms Latham said the role of ICAC was to investigate and expose serious and systemic corruption, identify corruption risks and work with the public sector to deal with risks and build corruption resistance.
She said in 2014/2015 ICAC had received over 3,000 reports of corruption with 14 cases warranting a full investigation.
“The deterrent effect of these investigations is very powerful. No one wants to be in an agency that’s being investigated,” Commissioner Latham said.
She said corruption prevention and education is equally important.
Max Britton, a senior investigator with the NSW Ombudsman’s office spoke about the role of the NSW Ombudsman and outlined the functions of the Ombudsman’s office.
“Like ICAC the Ombudsman is one of several watchdog bodies in NSW.
“The Ombudsman is independent of the government of the day and is accountable to the people of NSW through a parliamentary committee,” Mr Britton said.
He said the role of his office was to watch over public and private sector agencies to ensure staff do their jobs properly and meet their responsibilities to the community.