Victoria’s Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) has formally announced that it is conducting an investigation into serious corrupt conduct in Victoria’s public transport sector.
The announcement follows months of rumours which have swirled since V/Line CEO James Pinder was stood down by the Victorian Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll in August.
The investigation will focus on procurement and tendering processes within the Victorian public transport sector, with suggestions that cleaning contracts may be a focus.
IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich said the investigation would cover the management of contracts between V/Line, Metro and suppliers.
“The hearings will examine the effectiveness of controls associated with the proper delivery of essential services in the state’s public transport system during a time of critical importance to the health and wellbeing of Victorians,” said Redlich.
Hearings will begin on Monday, October 26 and be streamed online.
“As part of IBAC’s focus on preventing corruption, the public hearings will also consider whether the current systems and controls are sufficient to protect the integrity of the tendering and procurement process, and examine potential systemic issues, including how organisational culture and practices may have contributed,” said Redlich.
Hearings will look into whether contract tender and procurement processes were swayed by monetary incentives or gifts.
Since being stood down, Pinder has been replaced by Gary Liddle, who had previously steered V/Line through a troubled period in 2016 when safety concerns led to regional services not being able to travel through Melbourne. Nick Foa, head of transport services at the Department of Transport briefly stood in before Liddle was appointed.
Metro Trains rollingstock manager Peter Bollas was also stood down in August due to the same investigation.