Public hearings were held in 2020 and 2021 as part of IBAC's investigation, Operation Esperance into allegations of serious corrupt conduct during the tendering, procurement and subsequent management of major contracts within V/Line and Metro.
The first round of public hearings started on Monday 26 October and adjourned on Friday 6 November 2020.
The second round of hearings started on Monday 29 March and adjourned on Thursday 1 April 2021.
The third round of hearings started and adjourned on Thursday 8 July 2021.
Hearings focused on:
- the transparency and integrity of major services procurements and tendering processes within the public transport sector in Victoria, following the special report to Parliament in December 2017 of Operation Lansdowne, including but not limited to, conflicts of interest, undeclared relationships and gifts to public officers that may give rise to actual or perceived corrupt conduct
- whether public officers involved in major contract tender and procurement processes have been improperly influenced through monetary incentives, donations, gifts, or other hospitality and the circumstances surrounding any actual or potential financial benefits obtained by any public officer that may have influenced procurement and tendering processes within the public transport sector in Victoria
- the systems and controls in place within the public transport sector concerning procurements and tendering for major contracts, with particular focus on the existence and adequacy of systems and controls for ensuring the integrity of the procurement process, including by detecting instances of public officers obtaining corrupt benefits or being unduly influenced by contractors
- if the investigation of the above matters identifies serious corrupt conduct on the part of one or more current or former public officers, the extent to which (if at all) organisational culture and practices have fostered that conduct or hindered opportunities or attempts to detect and eliminate that conduct
- the extent to which any suspected corrupt conduct identified above has infiltrated the public transport sector's tendering and procurement processes, across the major public transport operators in Victoria.
The hearings were presided over by IBAC's Commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich QC. Counsel Assisting was Paul Lawrie of the Victorian Bar together with Joseph Amin, Principal Lawyer of IBAC.
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to report it at www.ibac.vic.gov.au/report or phone 1300 735 135.