Health CEO’s behaviour ‘unacceptable’

VICTORIA’S health minister has described as “unacceptable” the behaviour outlined in a corruption report into the conduct of several senior Bendigo Health officials.

The report was damning of CEO John Mulder and former construction manager Adam Hardinge, including allegations Mr Mulder received free landscaping, floorboard and electrical works, as well as having a door delivered to his Torquay house.

The total value of the goods and services received by Mr Mulder for Spring Gully, Flora Hill and Torquay residences was about $10,000, the report found.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the findings were “extremely concerning”.

“The behaviour outlined in the IBAC report is unacceptable, and in my view does not meet community expectations,” she said.

“All health service CEOs should act in an honest and ethical manner, in line with the Public Services Code of Conduct.”

The Bendigo Health board is currently carrying out an independent review of the activities of Mr Mulder, who has been stood down pending the investigation.

Ms Hennessy said the report would guide the government in putting in place measures to improve the integrity of health services across the state.

“The department will use the IBAC recommendations to put in place stronger support, education and guidance measures for the health sector regarding integrity and corruption prevention to ensure this sort of activity never occurs again,” she said.

The report was released two months after the official opening of the new Bendigo Hospital. Mr Hardinge was convicted in court on theft and deception charges in October last year.

A spokesperson for IBAC said the opening of the hospital was “irrelevant” to the completion and release of the report.

Bendigo Health has been contacted for comment.

IBAC commissioner Stephen O’Bryan said public sector corruption had “far reaching consequences”.

“The Victorian community rightly expects every public sector employee to behave ethically and to use public resources responsibly and for the good of the community,” he said.

“Public sector employees, especially senior managers, are required to use their powers in a responsible way. They are not allowed to seek or obtain personal benefit for themselves, their families or associates.”