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ICAC announces Oakden investigation


The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption will investigate who knew about allegations of elder abuse at the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service, when, and who was ultimately responsible for the conditions at the condemned facility.

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Commissioner Bruce Lander revealed to a parliamentary committee this afternoon that he would launch the investigation.

In a statement released shortly after, Lander said: “My investigation will not duplicate inquiries already undertaken or presently underway. It will focus on the extent to which all people in authority, from local management to executive leadership and Ministers, were aware of the conditions and sub-optimal care being delivered at the facility, when they became aware of such information, and what if any action was taken in response to that information.”

“Alternatively, if information did not become known to appropriate persons in authority, my investigation will enquire as to why and how this may have occurred.”

Lander said that he requested additional funding from the State Government earlier this month to conduct the investigation, which will probe whether any maladministration or misconduct was committed by those who directly and indirectly the manage, and managed, the facility.

“On 8 May 2017, I wrote to the Deputy Premier, the Hon. John Rau advising him that additional financial resources would be required to undertake this investigation,” Lander’s statement says.

“On 19 May 2017, I received a letter from the Chief Executive of Treasury advising me that the Treasurer had agreed to provide the necessary funding to commence an investigation.

“Over the coming days, I will publish the terms of reference for this investigation and the operational processes and procedures that I will follow. I will also make a public call for information.”

He said the investigation must be conducted in private, as required by the ICAC Act.

“[But] at the conclusion of the investigation, if I consider it in the public interest, I will publish my findings,” he said.

“I will proceed to have the investigation concluded as quickly as possible.”

Last month, the Government announced it would close Oakden following the release of a damning report by Chief Psychiatrist Dr Aaron Groves which revealed systematic abuse and mistreatment of dementia patients at the facility.

Last week, Mental Health Minister Leesa Vlahos announced the closure would be fast-tracked after two subsequent assault allegations were reported.

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