The media spokesperson for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has refused to answer questions from The Echo regarding why the West Byron development was never investigated after MLC Jan Barham referred it to them.
While it’s standard practice to not comment on ongoing legal cases, there appears a general ‘no comment policy’ within the commission.
Ms Barham questioned ‘irregularities’ dating from when the site was defined in 2009. The Echo asked why ICAC will not comment, considering the question was not defamatory, nor before the courts and is in the public interest.
The spokesperson replied, ‘The commission does not confirm or deny if it has received complaints. Nor do we comment on referrals. This is to protect the integrity of the commission’s investigative work.
‘Without referring to specific matters, the general exception to this is if a matter proceeds to a public inquiry and/or report.
‘The Commission has no further comment to make in regard to this matter.’
But Section 12 of the ICAC Act says: ‘Public interest is to be paramount’.
It reads, ‘In exercising its functions, the commission shall regard the protection of the public interest and the prevention of breaches of public trust as its paramount concerns’.