NSW to implement strongest lobbying integrity measures in Australia
The NSW Government supports all recommendations directed to the Government in response to an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) report on lobbying regulation and practices.
Last year the ICAC published its report entitled Investigation into the regulation of lobbying, access and influence in NSW following an investigation known by the moniker ‘Operation Eclipse’. In its report, the ICAC made 29 recommendations to reduce corruption risks and reform the regulation of lobbying practices.
In its response, the Government supports all 27 recommendations directed to the Government. The remaining two recommendations are directed to the NSW Parliament.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the Government was committed to addressing any corruption risks involved in the lobbying of public officials and authorities.
“The Government currently has a strong model to regulate lobbying activity and these changes will ensure we have the strongest lobbying integrity measures in the country,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We are committed to ensuring a transparent government that operates in the best interest of the people of NSW, and this response ensures that.”
Key reforms include:
- That the Lobbyists Code of Conduct be renamed the “Lobbying Code of Conduct” and impose standards and obligations on public officials about how lobbying proposals are received, considered and determined;
- That all third-party and in-house lobbyists be required to register with the Lobbying Regulator;
- Enshrining in legislation the requirement to disclose diaries with the Government supporting this being extended to all members of Parliament; and
- Creating a dedicated NSW Lobbying Commissioner.
The reforms build on the Government’s previous reforms to introduce the Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011, establish the Electoral Commission as the independent regulator of lobbyists and publish Ministerial diaries.
The Operation Eclipse investigation was conducted under the ICAC’s corruption prevention mandate. It was not an investigation into any specific person or any specific allegations of corrupt conduct. The report does not make any findings of wrongdoing.