Corruption risks worsen in Qld: watchdog

·2-min read

Lobbying in Queensland has surged since the Palaszczuk government was re-elected, increasing the risk of corruption, a watchdog says.

The Crime and Corruption Commission warned election candidates about "improper influence" during the 2020 campaign.

It says it's concerned about a surge in lobbying since the Labor government was re-elected.

"There has been a substantial increase in recorded lobbying activities in recent years," the watchdog said in a report on Friday.

"The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated economic recovery efforts, appear to have contributed to the recent surge in lobbying activities in Queensland."

The CCC said its investigations show Queensland government decisions "can be inappropriately influenced".

Donors, lobbyist clients and people with political links have won government contracts, project approvals, grants or subsidies, it said.

"The corruption risks associated with influencing practices ... have intensified," the report said.

The commission said some groups and individuals also have disproportionate access to the government and may be influencing decisions.

The CCC alluded to lobbying by Anacta Strategies before and after the 2020 election, during which its two executives worked on Labor's campaign.

"In some circumstances these individuals have been engaged by a political party or government agency while still involved in influencing practices, such as lobbying," it wrote.

One in 10 public servants have witnessed or suspected people from the private sector pressuring a politician, the commission said.

About 14 per cent have witnessed or suspected people from the private sector pressuring public servants.

The CCC said there was a further risk of improper influence over contracts and positions associated with the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

The watchdog said it has started auditing the records of politicians and public services against the officials lobbyist register after it found 103 discrepancies last year.

It has called submissions about improper influence practices from current and former lobbyists, their clients, individuals who are lobbied and interest groups.

The CCC said depending on the evidence it gathers it could call a public hearing, use its other powers to examine issues or issue another public report.

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