Ombudsman's Quarterly Update | May 2022

Date posted:

In the past few months, for the first time in over a year, I was able to attend events in person as a guest speaker at a variety of functions where I could engage with the crowd beyond the confines of Zoom, Teams and my laptop screen.

Grateful though I am for the technology that enabled us to get through seemingly endless periods of remote working, nothing will ever really replace personal contact. Nothing beats seeing and connecting with live audiences, and hearing a person’s experiences face to face.

We are set for a busy end to the financial year with a raft of reports set to be tabled. Among others, my investigations into the Environment Protection Authority’s approval of spoil location sites for the West Gate Tunnel project, and our investigation into public and community complaint handling, are nearing completion.

Earlier this week I called for submissions into the ’Politicisation of the Public Service’ following a parliamentary referral made to my office in February. It’s a significant investigation and I am please to confirm that Professor John McMillan AO has been appointed to lead this investigation. Professor McMillan has held a number of senior integrity positions, including as Commonwealth Ombudsman.

I encourage anyone with an interest to read the Issues paper and contact us if they believe they may have useful information.

On top of our reports, I’m looking forward to Law Week next week, when our office will be involved in a number of events designed to educate the role of our office to the people of Victoria.

I’m particularly excited to be hosting a complaints clinic at the Geelong Town Hall on 18 May, in what I hope will be the first of many regional visits I’ll be making this year, to better connect and understand the challenges facing regional Victorians.

It will be good to leave the laptop, however briefly, and get back on the road.