Cunneen High Court ruling triggers ICAC power changes

Proposed legislation will allow ICAC to investigate cases involving private citizens.

ICAC’s power will now be legislated to include reports into corruption involving non-public officials, following a High Court ruling that matters such as the Cunneen case fall outside ICAC’s jurisdiction.

The High Court ruled in the Cunneen case earlier this year that ICAC could not investigate cases in which a private citizen affected the functions of a public official, in cases such as fraud.

Under new legislation proposed by the Baird government yesterday, such cases will fall under ICAC’s jurisdiction in the future.

The announcement came yesterday, following the release of a report of the powers of ICAC by Premier Mike Baird yesterday, announcing the government will implement all changes suggested by a review panel.

ICAC’s powers will be limited to make findings of corrupt conduct to cases that are ‘serious’, but at the same time ICAC will be given additional powers, restoring the watchdog’s ability to investigate matters involving non-public officials under certain circumstances, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“The important point about today is that we want ICAC to get cracking,” Baird said.  “We want it to continue to hunt down serious and systemic corruption in this state.”

He said legislation would be brought before parliament as soon as possible, opposition leader Luke Foley indicated that it would be Labor’s intention to cooperate.

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