IBAC eyes local government
Here at bendigogovhub.com.au a news report a few days back caught our interest.
It was about the announcement that IBAC, the state’s independent anti-corruption body, will hold public hearings next month into allegations of serious corrupt conduct in relation to planning and property development decisions, and other forms of procurement, at the Casey city council.
The hearings are part of an IBAC investigation, Operation Sandon, into allegations of corrupt conduct involving councillors and property developers in the City of Casey. The City of Casey is a fast-growing municipality in the south-east of Melbourne.
It got us thinking. Yes, it is right of IBAC to ensure the highest levels of governance, integrity, transparency and accountability are practised in the dealings of local government with private property developers.
But what about interactions between local councils and State Government? We would still live in hope in this day and age that the same rules apply to levels of government as they are rightly expected to be followed in dealings with the business community.
Councils make decisions on the use of local money, local buildings and local land belonging to their residents.
But what happens when a council abandons a community, shuns consultation and snubs genuine concerns and questions over a deal to sell that land and buildings to the State Government and at the same time hand the cheque straight back, boosting the coffers of a government-owned profit-making business?
Does it pass the test? Does it sound okay? Would you do that with the family home?
If the answer is no, then perhaps it is time for IBAC to expand the inquires underway into local government here in Victoria to include dealings between councils and the State Government.
IBAC may be able to get answers to the very troubling questions confronting residents of Bendigo on the dud GovHub project.