Anti-corruption

South Australia’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is to be the overarching investigator that augments, rather than replaces agencies such as the Police Anti-Corruption Branch. The ICAC, with a budget of $32 million over 5 years, is independent of Government, and will act as a deterrent to corruption as much as a body to expose it. State and local government agencies such as police will have a mandatory obligation to report suspicion of corruption in public administration to the Office of Public Integrity (OPI). While the OPI will triage the complaints, the most serious allegations of corruption, misconduct or maladministration will go to the ICAC for investigation.

The ICAC will investigate allegations of corruption involving public officials such as politicians, police, judicial officers, statutory office holders and public servants including teachers and health workers. Public servants will also include statutory and strategic planning officers (and conceivably other ancillary officers – engineering, arboricultural, environmental health). Given the high value and potential gains made and derived from policy planning decisions and development assessment ethical and objective attitudes are essential within the planning profession. While matters involving non-criminal behaviour, such as poor performance or incompetence, would normally be referred to agencies such as the Ombudsman, the ICAC could step in. As well as having powers to investigate, the ICAC Commissioner will also have a role in anti-corruption education and prevention.

The ICAC's powers are limited to investigating corruption in public administration. Corporate criminal investigations remain with the police. The ICAC will conduct investigations only, not trials, and investigative hearings will be held in private. The ICAC will gather evidence for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, just like police investigations. If charges are laid, any subsequent court hearings would be open as per any normal court case involving criminal charges.

Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012.