Wagga MP Joe McGirr said he will keep pushing for the NSW corruption watchdog's funding to be taken out of government hands after plans for a $3.4 million budget cut were revealed.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), having ended former Liberal Wagga MP Daryl Maguire's political career in 2018 and revealed his secret relationship with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in 2020, will now need to find more and more "savings" by 2024.
According to documents filed to a budget estimates hearing last week, ICAC will need to "apply efficiency dividends" of $3.418 million over the four financial years.
Along with two other independent MPs, Dr McGirr last year co-signed a letter that called for ICAC to no longer be subject to annual funding decisions.
This week, Dr McGirr said it was ICAC "needs to have the money to do its job; that's got to be a priority".
"The government has assured us that ICAC will have the money that it needs to do its job and that is something that we independent MPs will pursue as we regard it as a pretty important part of what we want to get addressed," Dr McGirr said.
"It's a pretty important part of government for each of us.
"ICAC like every government instrument and corporation and so on, also has to be efficient and there are ways that you can be efficient with the use of public money."
In other news
Shooters Fishers and Farmers Murray MP Helen Dalton told Parliament last week that the state's "watchdogs had become lapdogs" because "nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds them".
"How can ICAC investigate when it is hampered by a $4 million funding shortfall due to government cutbacks?" she said.
The cuts were revealed in Special Minister of State Don Harwin's supplementary answers to questions at a budget estimates hearing.
Mr Harwin's response stated that the savings were not new and that "efficiency dividends distributed in prior years (not during financial year 2020-21) will impact each integrity agency".
"One of the Auditor-General's recommendations was that the government reassess the process used to apply efficiency dividends to integrity agencies," Mr Harwin's response stated.
"The government is carefully considering the Auditor-General's recommendation and will provide its response in due course."
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