Video Transcript

Be alert to corruption risks facing Victoria's state government and local councils

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, IBAC, regularly assesses corruption risks and trends across Victoria's state government and local councils.

This research helps government agencies and councils mitigate and prevent corruption.

What did our latest research find?

Opportunities to increase transparency

There are opportunities for Victoria's public bodies to increase transparency in how decisions are made to show they are fair and accountable.

Reasons why there might be limited transparency include

  • limited oversight of activities by elected officials and lobbyists
  • failure to declare and properly manage gifts, benefits and hospitality
  • underreporting of suspected misconduct and corruption and
  • limited use of data analytics to understand and analyse corruption vulnerabilities, and minimal sharing of data publicly.

Victoria's public bodies can improve transparency through:

  • creating publicly available registers of elected officials’ interests, lobbying activity, and awarded procurement contracts
  • providing public access to ministerial diaries
  • making post-separation employment information available
  • and making available government data and information on decisions made.

Well known corruption risks

The research shows that enduring, well-known risks continue to create ongoing opportunities for corruption.

Well-known risks include conflicts of interest, delivery pressures, recycling problematic staff, misusing information, lack of accountability and oversight, and infiltration by organised crime.

There are also activities which carry risk, such as infrastructure projects, procurement, land use planning and grant programs.

State government and councils also need to develop their capability to identify emerging risks.

Emergencies and crises increase corruption risks

Corruption risks are heightened during times of emergencies and crises.

The need for rapid response, demands for public services, and remote work arrangements, can impact accountability and oversight, and increase present and emerging corruption risks.

Victoria's rapid growth

In the long-term, Victoria has the highest projected population growth in Australia, which will create additional demand for public services and associated development.

This may lead to government agencies increasingly relying on complex funding models, including multiple funding sources, in an effort to deliver large scale infrastructure projects.

The size and scale of these funding models increases the risk of corruption.

Risks of improper influence

Elected officials and employees may be improperly influenced through donations, gifts, benefits and hospitality.

This is more likely when interactions between electoral donors, lobbyists and government officials create situations where decision-makers can be compromised, when politically‑connected lobbyists have undue influence, or when proper procurement and contracting processes are circumvented.

What can be done to reduce these risks?

Every state government and council employee has a role to play to reduce corruption risks.

Leaders have a clear responsibility to raise awareness of the harms of corruption, the importance of prevention, and ensure every employee understands their responsibilities through ongoing education and training.

Leaders and managers must increase transparency in record keeping and decision making and ensure this is available to employees.

They should regularly review processes and practices and explain how they identify risks and apply effective control measures, as well as support employees to identify and report corruption.

And integrity teams should develop predictive capabilities that identify emerging corruption risks.

Corruption, whenever it occurs, hurts all Victorians. By addressing these risks, being vigilant, and reporting corruption to your agency o­­r IBAC, we help ensure Victoria's state government and local councils actively resist corruption.

For more information on corruption risks, trends and control measures, or to report corruption go to www.ibac.vic.gov.au.

All corruption risks highlighted have been impacted to some extent by the COVID-19 pandemic. While difficult to forecast, current indicators suggest the issues and trends identified will remain valid in the longer term.