The Premier must today stand aside the Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and launch an independent investigation, after the Treasurer’s Chief of Staff resigned and confirmation that two of Mr Perrottet’s political advisors were paid by his scandal-ridden workers compensation agency iCare.
Overnight, the Treasurer and Deputy Liberal Party Leader accepted Nigel Freitas’ resignation when Mr Freitas took responsibility for the ‘administrative error’.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said: “This is a fraudulent use of resources to influence decision making. How did two political staff in his office be paid by iCare?
“The Treasurer’s decision making was clearly compromised by his policy advisor being paid by the agency he was responsible for,” Ms McKay said.
“I’m calling on the Premier to stand the Treasurer aside while an independent investigation occurs. This investigation needs to be independent because the Premier’s Chief of Staff signs off on all ministerial appointments.
“The Premier must show leadership. Gladys Berejiklian cannot ignore this crisis.”
Ms McKay said the Treasurer’s decisions were clearly compromised when he:
- Ignored multiple warnings from Treasury, SIRA, former Finance Secretary Martin Hoffman, and Minister Victor Dominello about problems at iCare
- Ditched plans for an independent review into iCare when iCare’s senior management complained
- Held an inappropriate meeting with iCare’s claims manager EML just 12 days before a scathing report into their work
- Ignored the conflict of interest shown by John Nagle who gave a contract to his wife, despite learning about it in February 2019
- Failed to act on the damning revelations against iCare in the Dore report
- Allowed Liberal donor and Chair Michael Carapiet to query the budget of iCare’s regulator, SIRA
- Repeatedly misled Parliament about these matters
Labor Shadow Minister for Finance and Small Business, Daniel Mookhey said that iCare is not a political Department: “Employers pay their premiums to get sick and injured workers back to work, not to fund the Treasurer’s political operations. There are serious questions about how this happened.
“If this was a genuine secondment the Treasurer’s office, the Treasurer would be paying iCare.
“If the Treasurer doesn’t know what happens in his own office or with his office’s finances, how can the people of NSW trust him with the State’s budget?"