ICAC to be given more powers: NSW govt


Mr Baird announced the changes on Thursday amid the latest allegations made at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) about the Liberal Party's fundraising activities before the 2011 state election. "It's a very significant step forward in terms of, I think, ethics in the state," Mr Baird told a budget estimates hearing. "It gives you a sense of what I'm trying to achieve as premier of this state.

The code of conduct will also prohibit ministers or their staff from pressuring state government agencies into changing their recommendations. "(This) sets the benchmark for Australia," Mr Baird said. "We now have the toughest ministerial code of conduct in the nation, and it's about time.

Simon Smith, acting secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, said the changes would allow the ICAC to identify corrupt conduct "much more quickly". "(It means) you couldn't be a corrupt minister for a long time (and would have) less time to make trouble," he told the hearing.

The NSW corruption watchdog will be given more powers to investigate government ministers, and the ministerial code of conduct will be made the "toughest" in the country, Premier Mike Baird says.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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