During Parliamentary Budget Estimates on Wednesday 9 August 2023, I asked about the CCC's use of private consultants to water down recommendations for an independent Police Integrity Unit, and the Coaldrake recommendations for a clearing house for complaints against Government.
You can read the answers below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).
Mr BERKMAN: I have questions for Mr Barbour in relation to the same recommendation. Again for context, the commission of inquiry into QPS responses to domestic and family violence recommended this police integrity unit with civilian investigators be established within the CCC and that was to deal with all complaints against police. I understand from media reporting that external consultants have been engaged by the CCC to work on this matter. Can you confirm, if that is the case, who the consultants are and how much that is costing the CCC?
Mr Barbour: Yes, thank you. We were assisted by consultants, with the approval of the former Attorney-General, to prepare the options paper which I just spoke about in answer to the other member’s question. The consultants that were retained were GSA consulting and the cost of that consultancy was $409,000.
Mr BERKMAN: According to media reporting in the Guardian, they indicated that the CCC opposes the commission of inquiry’s recommendation based on resourcing constraints. Is the CCC’s position that the commission’s recommendation that all complaints against police are independently investigated by civilians would be preferable if adequate resourcing was provided for that function?
Mr Barbour: Unfortunately, much of what is reported in the media is not necessarily accurate so I thank you for the opportunity to provide an accurate answer on those issues.
Mr NICHOLLS: Do you mean the Guardian is not accurate?
CHAIR: Member for Clayfield.
Mr Barbour: I think the important thing to note, in answer to your question, is that the commission of inquiry report correctly refers to the fact that we were supportive of the recommendations that were made to significantly enhance police oversight and for the development of a unit of the kind that was recommended. As I said in answer to earlier questions, that matter is now squarely with government and it is a matter for government to determine whether or not it proceeds with that model or any other model to enhance. This provides me with an opportunity to categorically state that effective independent oversight is essential, in my view, for the handling of police complaints and I believe the system in Queensland can be enhanced. What that looks like and whether or not it is as recommended is a matter for government.
Mr BERKMAN: Again referring to another bastion of media integrity and accurate reporting, you would have seen the Courier-Mail this morning referring to a shift in the government’s policy position around not specifically that recommendation but the Coaldrake recommendation around a single clearing house for complaints against government. It had previously been suggested that that clearing house would be bundled up as part of this response to the police integrity unit. Do you have any reaction to that proposal that the current online form for public sector complaints might be sufficient for that independent police integrity unit function?
Mrs D’ATH: Chair, I do believe that is seeking an opinion.
CHAIR: Yes, it is.
Mrs D’ATH: I ask it be ruled out.
Mr BERKMAN: I will pare it right back.
CHAIR: Do not pare it right back—
Mr BERKMAN: Mr Barbour, do you have any response to the reporting in the Courier-Mail this morning?
CHAIR: Do not interrupt me.
Mr BERKMAN: Apologies, Chair.
CHAIR: Let me finish.
Mr BERKMAN: Certainly.
CHAIR: You have the opportunity to rephrase the question, but that question is asking for an opinion. If you persist then I will rule it out of order.
Mr BERKMAN: Certainly. Mr Barbour, in addition to your previous answers, do you have any further comment in response to the publications in the Courier-Mail this morning around that recommendation from the Coaldrake review?
CHAIR: I do not think that question is any better. I will rule it out of order. I hand over to the member for Caloundra.