Category Archives: Speeches

Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Committee fourth report

Parliament of Victoria – Search Hansard

WELLS (Rowville) (10:27:29) — Yesterday I was pleased to table the fourth report of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Committee, A Framework for Monitoring the Performance of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission. Effective performance measurement reporting systems are an essential part of transparent and accountable government. This is no less true for IBAC than for any other public institution. Indeed the need is far greater for an anti-corruption agency like IBAC, given its special role in ensuring Victoria’s confidence in the public sector and the considerable investigative powers it quite rightly possesses.Under the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003, the IBAC committee has the functions of monitoring and reviewing the performance of IBAC. Until now the committee has carried out these functions by reviewing relevant reports, conducting hearings on IBAC’s performance and undertaking relevant reviews and inquiries, and the most recent was on the whistleblower laws. For more than a decade, however, there have been calls for parliamentary oversight bodies to develop formal frameworks to monitor and assess the performance of anti-corruption agencies. For example, Transparency International has developed guidelines and measures to evaluate their performance. After five years in operation, the committee thought it timely to enhance its oversight work by developing a framework for a more systematic monitoring of IBAC based on best practice principles. To assist with this process, the committee engaged Professor A. J. Brown of Griffith University as a consultant.I will now go through an overview of the report. The report sets out a proposed performance monitoring and review framework, to be led and oversighted by the IBAC Committee, for ensuring the effective performance and accountability of IBAC. The framework draws on international best practice to develop a range of measures of IBAC’s performance across its legislative functions. It also draws on IBAC’s own measurement of its performance set out in its corporate plan 2015–18, recognising that the framework needs to support rather than hinder IBAC’s fulfilment of its responsibilities.The proposed framework provides rigorous criteria for assessing IBAC’s performance in the following main areas: investigating, exposing and addressing corrupt conduct and police misconduct; preventing corruption and informing the public sector and Victorians about that; impacting positively on levels of integrity and public trust in the public sector; ensuring IBAC’s accountability and integrity; ensuring that IBAC has effective governance; and monitoring IBAC’s legal and financial capacity.

The committee recognises that the assessment of IBAC’s performance needs to take proper account of not only the activities it engages in but also their impact on corruption in Victoria. The report makes three recommendations. Firstly, that the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 be amended to require that the IBAC committee undertake a comprehensive review of IBAC’s performance every four years. Secondly, that the IBAC act and the Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 be amended to ensure greater clarity about the monitoring and oversight roles of the Victorian Inspectorate. Thirdly, that the Victorian government support, and assist in the implementation of, the framework. As noted, the committee appreciates that the four-yearly review needs to take account of IBAC’s own systems for performance monitoring.

As chair of the committee, I would like to thank Professor Brown for his insights and expertise. I would also like to thank my committee colleagues, the deputy chair, the member for Footscray, the member for Prahran, the member for Gippsland South, the member for Mordialloc and Mr Simon Ramsay and Ms Jaclyn Symes in the Council, for their cooperative and bipartisan approach to the preparation of this report. Finally, I would like to thank the secretariat for their hard work: the executive officer, Ms Sandy Cook, the research officer, Dr Stephen James, and the committee administrative officer, Ms Justine Donohue. The committee looks forward to further developing and implementing this pioneering framework in the coming year, confident that it will strengthen the committee’s oversight and work and make a distinctive contribution to Victoria’s anti-corruption commission and its system.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety questioned on plans for road improvements to Wellington and Stud roads

Constituency Question 

WELLS (Rowville) (11:52:30) — (13 589) The question I wish to raise is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety. Minister, what plans do VicRoads have for road improvements to Wellington and Stud roads to provide for the large number of new residents moving into the Kingston Links development in Rowville?

Minister, the Kingston Links golf course, along with a large parcel of Knox council land, is due to be developed into a new housing estate as a result of the strong population growth in outer suburban seats like Rowville. The development of over 800 houses, along with new parks, new community facilities and new commercial premises within the estate will generate a large amount of extra traffic. Already 81 per cent of Rowville residents rely on their cars to get to work, which is the highest proportion in Victoria. Rowville residents are extremely worried that extra traffic will put enormous pressure on Wellington Road and Stud Road. These major roads provide access for Rowville residents onto EastLink and the Monash Freeway and are at choking point.

Andrews Labor Government must stop selective and misleading reporting of firefighting response times.

Members Statement 

Mr WELLS (Rowville) (15:58:18) — This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government for its selective and misleading reporting of firefighting response times. Labor’s release of data is not about transparency but is a malicious attack on the service delivery model of the Country Fire Authority (CFA), directed at undermining the efforts of our hardworking CFA firefighters. The government is deeply critical of the CFA response times, while holding the CFA to vastly different standards from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB). Each CFA brigade is examined right down to the number and percentage of incidents where the brigade attends within the expected service delivery standards. There are statistics for significant urban areas, urban areas and rural areas, and maps of the aggregates of these statistics.

The Premier has cherry-picked which statistics to release, scrutinising the CFA brigade by brigade, while ignoring that CFA brigades are dispatched by 000 to work side-by-side with neighbouring brigades and neighbouring MFB stations. The CFA website states that 000 usually dispatches two brigades to provide immediate assistance, yet these CFA brigade area statistics do not include any of the times where a CFA brigade responds to incidents in neighbouring brigade areas. We do not even know how many times this occurs. In my own electorate, the Rowville and Scoresby CFA brigades often attend road accidents, chemical spills and other incidents on major roads. Emergency medical callouts are not counted in these statistics either. This data is a complete smokescreen by the Premier.

Minister for Police questioned over the cut in frontline PSOs

Constituency Question 

WELLS (Rowville) (12:47:50) — (13 389) The question I wish to raise is for the Minister for Police. Minister, given the increase in crime under the Andrews government, why has there been a substantial cut in the number of frontline protective services officers (PSOs) by 31 full-time positions from December 2016 until June of this year? Continue reading

Calling out Labors mismanagement of the Victorian justice system

Members statement 

WELLS (Rowville) (13:47:39) — This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government for its appalling mismanagement of the Victorian justice system, as seen in the government’s own department of justice annual report released this month. The report shows reoffending by criminals on community correction orders (CCOs) continues to rise at an enormous rate. Three years ago it was 20.8 per cent of those on CCOs, now it is 33.1 per cent.

Labor’s record on rehabilitating prisoners is even worse: 43.6 per cent of prisoners in this state reoffend and end up back in prison. It is not surprising that the department of justice report shows key benchmarks not being met for prisoner involvement in education, employment and delivery of service agreements. The report is a wake-up call that Labor’s soft on sentencing policies are simply not working. Yet Labor still rejects coalition calls to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders.

While Labor cuts frontline police numbers per capita, it has recruited non-sworn public servants to the justice department at more than three times the rate of police. Labor’s warped funding priorities are creating a dysfunctional cycle, with fewer police at the front line to prevent crime and more offenders churned back through our over-burdened justice system. Only a coalition government will crack down on crime and fix our broken justice system.

Knox crime rises while Labor still soft on repeat offenders

Mr WELLS (Rowville) (13:37:05) — This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government for the crime tsunami since its election in 2014. Crime across Victoria has increased over 16 per cent since December 2014. Across the City of Knox crime is up by nearly 26 per cent under the Andrews government. Within my own electorate of Rowville crime in the suburbs of Scoresby and Rowville is up a concerning 19.3 per cent and 11.6 per cent respectively.

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Speech on Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

Mr WELLS — I remember some years ago my son came home and said that he had to do a project on euthanasia and he needed my help. I said to him, ‘Okay, let’s start. Where would you like to start? Where would be a good point to begin?’. He said, ‘I think I’ll talk about a 14-year-old boy growing up in Singapore’. If only this debate was that simple. I have thought about the legislation at length and have discussed it with my family and friends and the constituents of Rowville, and I have been impressed by the quality of the feedback — arguments for and against the debate.

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Labor Desperately Silences Debate on Divisive CFA Bill

Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government for its failure to allow further debate on its fire services reform bill by adjourning early in the Legislative Council on Friday, 8 September. It is now over 460 days since the Premier emphatically stated that he had ended the Country Fire Authority (CFA) dispute; however, he and his government continue to show total disrespect for Victoria’s 60 000 CFA volunteers through their gutless political manoeuvrings and tactics to destroy the CFA in order to appease and provide political payback to Peter Marshall and his mates in the United Firefighters Union. Continue reading

Labor Fails to Protect Police from Car Ramming

Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government for its continued failure to support legislation to protect the dedicated and hardworking members of Victoria Police. The Andrews government recently demonstrated how out of touch it is in its priorities when, along with the Greens, the Liberal-Nationals proposed tough ramming of police cars legislation to better protect police. This was disgracefully voted down in this house, having passed in the other place.

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Tougher sentences for ramming a police car? Not under Labor.

Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government and the Greens for their recent disgraceful failure to support the Liberal-Nationals’ ramming of police cars legislation, which would have seen the dedicated and hardworking members of Victoria Police now have active legislative protection with police car rammers facing a minimum sentence of two years in the slammer. Continue reading