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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Ombudsman maintains high clearance rate

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Ombudsman maintains high clearance rate

    The Queensland Ombudsman – a key part of the State Government’s accountability framework – has maintained its high clearance rates during a busy 2009-10 financial year.

    Attorney-General Cameron Dick, who tabled the Ombudsman’s 2009-10 annual report today, said the Ombudsman had finalised 90 per cent of complaints within 60 days.

    “The Ombudsman’s Office is crucial to the Bligh Government’s ongoing commitment to integrity and honesty in the Queensland public sector,” Mr Dick said.

    “Part of that commitment is ensuring that complaints are finalised in a timely manner.

    “The number of complaints finalised within 10 days increased to 69 per cent and within 60 days increased to 90 per cent.

    “For the third consecutive year, 99 per cent of complaints were closed within 12 months.’’

    Mr Dick said the clearance rate improved amid an increase to 8717 in the number of complaints made to the Ombudsman.

    “This represented the third consecutive year that the number of complaints to the Ombudsman’s office has risen,’’ he said.

    “The figure reflects both an increased awareness of the Ombudsman’s role and the public’s determination to ensure accountability and transparency in public sector decision-making.”

    Mr Dick said the State Government had introduced substantial reforms to the state’s accountability and integrity framework in the past year including:

    • banning the payment of success fees to lobbyists for achieving favourable outcomes from government
    • creating a legislative framework for the regulation of the lobbying industry
    • expanding the role of Queensland’s Integrity Commissioner
    • amending the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 to ensure all government-owned corporations can be investigated by the Crime and Misconduct Commission
    • requiring newly appointed public service officers and ministerial staff to disclose whether they have worked as lobbyists in the past two years
    • asking the CMC to conduct an independent review of current processes for the management of police discipline and misconduct matters
    • passing the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010, which provides greater protection for whistleblowers
    • publishing the pecuniary interests of members of Parliament on the Internet
    • establishing an Ethical Standards Branch within the Public Service Commission.

    Mr Dick also paid tribute to recently retired Ombudsman David Bevan, who had overseen the office for more than nine years during arguably its busiest period.

    Other highlights of the 2009-10 Ombudsman’s annual report include:
    • 19,652 complaints and other inquiries received
    • no open complaints more than 12 months old for the first time since 1996
    • 193 recommendations made to public sector agencies
    • 120 training sessions delivered to 2056 public sector officers throughout Queensland
    • 3855 or 44 per cent of complaints received via telephone, and
    • 2275 complaints received about local councils.

    Media contact: Office of Attorney-General and Industrial Relations Minister 3239 3487