John McMillan named NSW's new ombudsman

Australian Information Commissioner John McMillan has been named as NSW's new ombudsman. (AAP)

Professor John McMillan will take the lead on the outgoing NSW ombudman's investigation into a phone bugging scandal that has dogged NSW police.

Australian Information Commissioner John McMillan has been named as NSW's new ombudsman.

Premier Mike Baird announced Professor McMillan would replace outgoing ombudsman Bruce Barbour, whose term finishes at the end of the month, for a two-year-term.

Prof McMillan, 65, will take the lead on Operation Prospect, a long-running probe into the handling of a phone bugging scandal in the NSW Police Force dating back more than a decade.

"Professor McMillan will take over responsibility for Operation Prospect, which Mr Barbour has progressed to its concluding stages, and I look forward to a comprehensive report as soon as possible," Mr Baird said on Tuesday.

Prof McMillan has requested he take over the role in an acting capacity for two years.

The former Commonwealth ombudsman is a emeritus professor with the Australian National University.

The ombudsman's Operation Prospect was at the centre of a parliamentary inquiry recently, with claims the agency was more concerned with hunting down whistleblowers.

Operation Prospect has been looking into the response to a covert corruption investigation by NSW Police that allegedly spied on more than 100 officers.

The investigation has been the source of tensions between police top brass, including Deputy Commissioners Nick Kaldas, who was targeted in the bugging, and Catherine Burn, who was involved in running the covert operation.

Another inquiry was announced this month to examine why, after two-and-a-half years, the ombudsman hasn't completed his investigation.

The Greens have labelled the new two-year appointment as a "band-aid solution" that won't repair the agency's damaged reputation.

"No one would envy the new ombudsman's job of picking up the broken pieces of the police bugging inquiry and trying to turn it into a coherent report," Greens justice spokesman David Shoebridge said in a statement.

"Of course this is a job the current ombudsman should have well and truly finished before he walked out of the office."

Last month the NSW government announced a review of police oversight system with an aim to streamline the multi-layered process.

Source AAP

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