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Currawong retreat sale not in ICAC jurisdiction

Thursday 21 January 2010

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will not include the 2007 sale of the Unions NSW Pittwater retreat at Currawong in its upcoming public inquiry into corrupt conduct involving Michael McGurk and others, as the matter is not within the Commission's jurisdiction.

There have been recent media reports that the Greens Planning Spokesperson, Ms Sylvia Hale, the NSW Opposition Leader, Mr Barry O'Farrell, and the Member for Pittwater, Mr Rob Stokes, have called for the Commission to include the sale in 2007 of the Unions NSW Pittwater retreat at Currawong as part of the planned public inquiry to be held next month.

Ms Hale's media officer telephoned the ICAC on 20 January 2010 and orally requested that the Commission broaden its terms of reference for the public inquiry to include this matter. Mr O'Farrell and Mr Stokes have not yet contacted the ICAC about this matter.

The matter will not be dealt with as part of the planned public inquiry because the ICAC can only investigate allegations of "corrupt conduct" as that term is defined in the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

To come within the definition of "corrupt conduct" the relevant conduct must either be that of a public official or public authority (as those terms are defined by the ICAC Act) or adversely affect the exercise of public official functions of a public authority or public official.

The Currawong site was owned by Unions NSW, which is not a public authority. No evidence has been placed before the ICAC tending to show that the sale of the Currawong property involved corrupt conduct on the part of any public official or public authority.

The Commission will be making no further statements in relation to this matter at this stage.