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ICAC Commissioner tells government agencies that corruption prevention beats cure

Tuesday 11 March 2008

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Commissioner the Hon Jerrold Cripps QC told an audience of local community leaders in Charlestown this morning that preventing corrupt conduct is preferable to curing corruption once it has taken hold. 

Commissioner Cripps also reminded government agency principal officers of the important role they play in reporting suspected corruption, but noted that it is important for them to know when an issue is a minor concern as opposed to a case of significant corruption.

"We all know the old adage that prevention is better than cure, and this certainly applies when it comes to corrupt conduct involving government agencies," Commissioner Cripps said.

"That is one of the reasons why the ICAC so keenly visits regional NSW, as through our corruption prevention and education program we can help agencies to better equip themselves to prevent corruption from occurring in the first place.

"I am pleased to be visiting the Newcastle area this week, where the Commission will be holding various workshops on protected disclosures, corruption prevention for managers, school workshops and liaison visits to some of the state government agencies in the area.

"This visit will also give agencies the opportunity to better identify significant corruption if it is occurring in their organisations, and report it to the ICAC," Commissioner Cripps said.

This week's visit is the second part of the ICAC's Hunter Outreach visit, following on from the initial visit to Maitland/Cessnock which was held in November last year.

The visit also includes the NSW Deputy Ombudsman Chris Wheeler, who will speak about protected disclosures, and Police Integrity Commissioner John Pritchard.

State Government agencies attending the Outreach activities include the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the NSW Police Force, TAFE NSW, the Roads and Traffic Authority, the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Hunter Water and the Department of Primary Industries.

Approximately 70 people attended this morning's community leader's breakfast. Attendees included local members of parliament, representatives from state government agencies, local business people and interest groups.

The ICAC outreach program has proved highly successful since its inception in 2001. It has included visits to the Illawarra, New England, the Hunter, Mudgee, the Far West, the South East, the Riverina, the Central Coast, the Central West and the North Coast.