InDaily InDaily

Support independent Journalism Donate Subscribe
Support independent journalism

Local

Coronavirus chaos "increases corruption risk", ICAC warns

Local

The economic and administrative disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis has increased the potential for corruption and maladministration in the South Australian bureaucracy, a new report from the state’s corruption watchdog will warn.

Print article

Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander is set to release his second Looking Back report by the end of this month.

The first was released six months ago last week – when Lander flagged that he would provide “twice-yearly updates and commentary concerning conduct and practices in South Australian public administration”.

It was at the media conference releasing that report that the Commissioner first flagged his concerns about SA Health, which he said at the time was “over-represented in the number of reports that are made and investigations that have been carried out”.

“Our experience would be the Department of Health is riddled with maladministration, and has been during the course of [this] office,” he told media last year.

“The extent of maladministration in Health is interfering with our ability to investigate corruption in Health.”

InDaily revealed last week that the Marshall Government has suspended its long-running organisational and financial overhaul of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, with auditors KordaMentha stepping away from their lucrative contract while the agency deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked whether Lander has any particular or ongoing concerns about SA Health, or corruption generally in the SA public sector during the coronavirus crisis, his office told InDaily: “The Commissioner is aware that the disruption and economic downturn caused by COVID-19 increases the risk of corruption, misconduct and maladministration occurring in public administration.”

Bruce Lander addressing media on the release of his first ‘Looking Back’ report. Photo: David Mariuz / AAP

Lander is currently on leave, but a spokesperson said: “He will address this in his next Looking Back report due to be published before the end of the month.​”

Last December, ICAC published its own report into governance issues at SA Health, despite Lander having complained that he needed extra resources to conduct a detailed investigation.

That report prompted the establishment of an inter-agency taskforce comprised of Premier’s Department CEO Jim McDowell, SA health chief Chris McGowan, Treasury boss David Reynolds, CALHN chief Lesley Dwyer and Public Sector Employment Commissioner Erma Ranieri.

Lander’s office said ICAC had been informed “that the government response team are continuing to address those issues raised”.

Want to comment?

Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.

We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.

Make a comment View comment guidelines

Make your contribution to independent news

A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.

Donate here
Powered by PressPatron

More Local stories

Loading next article