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SA Health bosses on “arms-length” inquiry into SA Health

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The Marshall Government says an inter-agency taskforce to address possible corruption and misconduct within SA Health will “operate at arms length” from the department, despite the fact that the SA Health CEO and another top executive are members of its five-person leadership team.

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Last year, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander delivered his excoriating report on SA Health – Troubling Ambiguity – to Parliament.

It detailed a raft of concerns, including a professional culture that enables corruption. 

The Government’s response was to announce an inter-agency taskforce – dismissing calls for a Royal Commission into the department.

On the Saturday of Australia Day long weekend, the State Government released the detail of its inter-agency taskforce plan.

The taskforce, according to the Government, will remain at “arm’s length” from the department, to “independently and critically review” a program of works that “SA Health will develop”.

However, SA Health chief executive Chris McGowan and chief executive of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network Lesley Dwyer will make up two-fifths of its leadership team.

The Government’s response to the ICAC report on SA Health includes an “arm’s length” taskforce.

Department of Premier and Cabinet Chief Executive Jim McDowell has also written to Premier Steven Marshall to outline details of the plan.

The plan – to be overseen by the taskforce – will be delivered from an SA Health project management office, led by SA Health Deputy Chief Executive Julienne TePohe and use Quick Base, an SA Health project management software tool, according to McDowell’s letter.

InDaily asked the Department of Premier and Cabinet how the taskforce could be “arm’s length”, given its make-up.

McDowell said in a statement: “The taskforce is overseen by myself, and includes a number of experienced public servants from a range of backgrounds, who are well-placed to ensure the business of the taskforce will be conducted in the manner stated.”

“As (SA Health) CE, it is entirely appropriate that Dr McGowan be on the taskforce.”

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