COMMITTEES;Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity Committee;Report – 03 Mar 2016

I present the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity on the examination of the 2014-15 annual report of the integrity commissioner, together with the Hansard record of proceedings.

Ordered that the report be printed.

 Senator BILYK: I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, ACLEI, is responsible for preventing, detecting and investigating serious and systemic corruption issues in Australia’s law enforcement agencies. ACLEI is required, pursuant to the Law Enforcement Integrity Commission Act, to provide an annual report to the parliament detailing its activities and investigations.

The annual report notes that ACLEI’s jurisdiction continues to expand. In July 2015, ACLEI’s jurisdiction expanded to include the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, including the newly-formed Australian Border Force.

ACLEI expects integrating the Department of Immigration and Border Protection into ACLEI’s jurisdiction will remain a priority into the foreseeable future.

ACLEI continues to receive a high number of corruption issues. In 2014-15 ACLEI received 100 new corruption issues. Comparatively, in the first six months of the 2015-16 reporting year, ACLEI has received 134 new corruption issues. This is a trend that ACLEI and the committee will continue to monitor closely.

The committee agrees with ACLEI’s assessment that corruption-enabled border crime continues to be a significant law enforcement integrity issue. The committee has had a firsthand opportunity to examine the challenges that ACLEI faces at the border during our inquiry into the integrity of Australia’s border arrangements. That inquiry is continuing, and I look forward to updating the chamber when the committee concludes its inquiry.

The committee notes that ACLEI’s budget in 2014-15 was increased to over $10 million. This funding included $1 million of temporary transitional funding to prepare for the integration of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection into ACLEI’s jurisdiction. ACLEI concluded the 2014-15 reporting year with an operating surplus of $1.4 million, due to ongoing difficulties in filling temporary vacancies and supplier expenses that were lower than expected.

The committee notes that ACLEI has met or exceeded all of its KPIs in 2014-15. In particular the committee notes:

the appointment of a workflow manager resulted in 96 per cent of notifications and referrals received in 2014-15 being finalised within 90 days of receipt;

that ACLEI adopted the recommendation of the committee’s report from the previous reporting period to implement regular meetings with partner agencies to oversee internal investigations; and

that the increase in corruption notifications and referrals reflect greater awareness of ACLEI’s role in supporting the integrity of Australian law enforcement agencies.

ACLEI and its partner agencies have contributed resources to concluding historical corruption issues. The committee has recommended minor changes to the set out of tables to provide a clearer picture of the issues being carried forward and the agency responsible.

Finally, the committee congratulates the Integrity Commissioner, Mr Michael Griffin, and ACLEI officers for the quality and readability of the 2014-15 annual report, and for their cooperation and engagement during the inquiry.

Question agreed to.