NSW Labor is demanding the Premier sack the Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, who today admitted the many failures of his workers compensation agency iCare.
In an extraordinary 25 minute interview on ABC Radio Sydney, Mr Perrottet was repeatedly asked if he would resign after the agency’s ‘complete, systemic failure’.
The Treasurer said he would not stand down, but said “the buck stops with me.”
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said the Premier must make her Treasurer accountable and remove him immediately: “After five weeks of denials and obfuscation, this morning the Treasurer finally admitted to his catastrophic failures of iCare. It’s the first time he’s admitted that he got it wrong and is to blame for the failures of his agency – the largest in NSW.
“Mr Perrottet said that ‘in public life you make mistakes. You’ve got to accept them, apologise and move on.’ That’s not good enough. Dominic Perrottet has let down hundreds of thousands of businesses and more than 3 million workers.
“Our system of Government requires ministerial accountability. The Treasurer said the buck stops with him. He’s right. He should be sacked. If this was a private business he wouldn’t remain in the role.
“Dominic Perrottet’s colleagues don’t trust him and neither does the community. If the Treasurer can’t be trusted to restore integrity at iCare, how can he be trusted to manage the economic recovery?”
The Shadow Minister for Finance and Small Business Daniel Mookhey said Dominic Perrottet should be sacked for his incompetent management of iCare.
“Nothing is going to change at iCare if the Treasurer is left in charge. If the Premier is serious about restoring confidence, it starts by removing the Treasurer and removing the Board of this organisation that has tanked the NSW workers compensation scheme.
Under Dominic Perrottet's stewardship:
• iCare underpaid 52,000 workers up to $80 million
• iCare overpaid dodgy doctors hundreds of millions of dollars in duplicate and fraudulent payments
• iCare paid for two secret political advisors in Dominic Perotett’s personal office
• iCare in February tried to eject 17,500 workers from the workers compensation system to offset the scheme’s mounting losses
• iCare sought to hike employer premiums by 4% and introduce a 'gap fee' for injured workers needing to see a doctor
• iCare is under investigation for paying $22 million to insurance brokers in breach of the law
• iCare’s CEO resigned after it emerged that iCare awarded his wife a lucrative contract
• iCare’s CEO and another top executive took an undisclosed sponsored trip to Las Vegas paid for by a multi-million contractor to the agency
• iCare’s top executives took a 36 foreign trips in four years - 10 times more than SIRA, their regulator
• iCare faced an ICAC referral for handing an $11 million marketing contract to a company secretly owned by a top executive at the agency
• Treasury in September 2019 secretly cancelled an external investigation into probity and governance at iCare after the former CEO complained
• The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) made referrals about iCare to the Independent Commission Against Corruption for further investigation
• A damning independent review found that in 46 percent of claims handled, iCare failed to follow the relevant law
• iCare organised with the Treasury a secret $4 billion bailout of the workers compensation fund for police, nurses, prison guards and teachers to stop it from collapsing
• The Treasurer was warned in May that iCare was set to lose another $850 million before COVID-19 hit the scheme even harder
• iCare racked up underwriting losses totalling $4.54 billion in the past three years
• iCare's $3.9 billion surplus effectively disappeared, before COVID-19 affected investment returns
Despite this record Mr Perrotett told Parliament that iCare did a 'superb' job.
Ms McKay and Mr Mookhey said the Premier can no longer ignore the Treasurer’s massive failings and must remove him.