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ICAC regional corruption prevention program visits northern inland NSW

Tuesday 25 November 2014

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will visit northern inland NSW next week as part of the Commission's program to bring anti-corruption initiatives and training to regional NSW.

The visit, to be based in Tamworth, will include workshops for state and local government agencies to increase awareness about corruption risks and learn the latest ways to minimise the occurrence of corrupt conduct.

The ICAC Commissioner, the Hon Megan Latham, said the rural and regional outreach program is an integral part of the Commission's corruption prevention program. "This program enables the Commission to reach out to regional and rural NSW, and provides an opportunity for state and local government officials in the area to participate in hands-on training with ICAC staff," Commissioner Latham said.

"ICAC investigations have shown that corruption is not just a city phenomenon. It can just as readily occur in rural and regional areas, so it is important that those who serve in our state and local authorities are aware of the risks, and equipped with the tools to prevent corrupt conduct in their agencies. It's pleasing to see that many agencies in the state's northern inland will be participating in the program, and are being proactive in their approach to managing corruption risks," Commissioner Latham said.

Workshops scheduled for this visit include corruption prevention for managers, focusing on the role of managers in corruption prevention, and how they can recognise and respond to the occurrence of corrupt conduct. Other workshops will include corruption prevention in procurement, which is aimed at equipping managers and staff involved in procurement responsibility to better handle this area, which can be particularly vulnerable to corruption risk. There will also be a fact finder workshop, to help agencies to conduct their own internal investigations.

The Commission's Executive Director Corruption Prevention, Dr Robert Waldersee, will host a community leaders' breakfast as part of the visit, which will be attended by more than 45 people including Tamworth Regional Council Mayor, Councillor Col Murray, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Russell Webb, plus other councillors and officials, Tamworth Aboriginal Land Council Chair Mr Harry Cutmore, and representatives from state government agencies, local business people and community interest groups. The visit will also include Mr Max Britten, Senior Investigation Officer with the NSW Ombudsman's Office, who will address the breakfast about the role of the Ombudsman.

Agencies attending the outreach activities include Tamworth Regional Council, Armidale Dumaresq Council, Liverpool Plains and Narrabri Shire Councils, Department of Primary Industries, the State Emergency Service, Department of Family and Community Services, Roads and Maritime Services, Hunter New England Mental Health, Walcha Multi Purpose Service, TAFE New England, Corrective Services NSW and Hunter New England Local Health District. The ICAC rural and regional outreach program has proved highly successful since its inception in 2001. Previous visits have included the central coast, the Illawarra, the Hunter, the far west, the south east, the central west, the Riverina and the north coast. The Commission last visited the northern inland area in 2010.

Media enquiries and interview requests: ICAC Manager Communications & Media, Nicole Thomas, 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801

News Directors/Ed's note: Media are welcome to attend the Community Leaders' Breakfast at Quality Hotel Powerhouse Tamworth, 248 Armidale Rd, Tamworth, at 7.15 am on Tuesday 2 December. Please RSVP to Nicole Thomas at the above numbers or email nthomas@icac.nsw.gov.au by 4 pm on Thursday 27 November 2014.