NSW Councils Caught Up In Corruption Scandal

29/10/2012 2:05 pm

Local Government in NSW has been hit by recent findings from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) released today that has found 41 people participated in corrupt conduct, with many current council staff and officers likely to face prosecution.

The corruption watchdog has found that “22 employees or former employees of 14 local councils and another public authority in NSW engaged in corrupt conduct” by accepting gifts and other largesse suppliers to win business as well as creating false invoices to mask payments.

Councils whose employees were named in the ICAC investigation include:

Ballina Shire Council, Bathurst Regional Council, Broken Hill City Council, Burwood Council, Byron Shire Council,  Council of the City of Botany Bay, Council of the City of Sydney, Lithgow City Council,  Liverpool City Council,  Narrandera Shire Council,  Orange City Council, Walgett Shire Council, Waverley Council and Yass Valley Council. Employees of the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority were also named as having engaged in corrupt conduct.

On the other side, staff of Hilindi Pty Ltd, Momar Australia Pty Ltd, NCH Australia Pty Ltd and Universal Cartridges Pty Ltd were found to have engaged in corrupt conduct.

“From the outset of the ICAC's investigation, it became apparent that the provision of incentives by businesses to public officials in NSW was widespread,” the Commission said in a public statement.

These findings put the local government sector in an awaked position. Given the persistent whispers of Council amalgamations and the fight the Councils are seeking to have with the State Government over the new planning system. The O’Farrell government is facing a backlash from many local governments on election promises of returning many land use planning and zoning approval powers to local governments. A statement issued on Monday 29th of October spruiking reforms, Mr Hazzard said that  “councils can finalise a range of Local Environmental Plan amendments, including spot rezonings, heritage proposals and the reclassification of some public land.”