Local Government NSW is the peak body for Councils in NSW. Each year LGNSW has an Annual Conference where Councils submit motions to provide direction and form policy. On 24 August 2020, Central Coast Council resolved to submit a number of motions to the LGNSW Conference. This included a motion to campaign for stronger independent integrity organisations at both the State and Federal levels.
Over recent years, NSW ICAC has been under attack—facing ongoing budget cuts and limiting of its powers. There are concerns that its independence is being undermined. Recent hearings conducted by ICAC make those concerns even more pointed. At a Federal level, there is no integrity commission. No agency has the power to investigate what might be considered to be corrupt conduct - including misconduct of politicians, political staff or the judiciary.
The motion put forward by our Council has been supported through the LGNSW Annual Conference. As a result, LGNSW will actively campaign to restore funding and ensure the independence of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). The campaign would include a public campaign and providing resources to Councils across NSW to build grassroots support for the campaign. In addition, LGNSW will advocate through the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) for the Federal government to establish an independent anti corruption body with powers similar to those of the NSW ICAC. I look forward to this campaign.
For the record: The vote on the motion to Central Coast Council on 24 August:-
For: Smith, Matthews, Holstein, Greenaway, MacGregor, Sundstrom, Vincent, Mehrtens, Hogan
Against: Best, McLachlan, Marquart, Burke, Pilon, Gale
Image: Linda Scott, President LGNSW, and Jane Smith in 2019