LABOR INTRODUCES TOUGH NEW LAW TO BAN OUTRAGEOUS BONUSES TO OVERPAID ICARE EXECUTIVES
NSW Labor has today reintroduced legislation to end executive bonuses at Dominic Perrottet’s scandal-ridden agency iCare.
Labor’s move comes after two inquiries last week excoriated the workers’ compensation insurer for its terrible governance.
The NSW Upper House’s Law and Justice Committee report found that ‘the level of executive remuneration at iCare is grossly excessive, and is likely to have contributed to poor cultural practices.’
Separately, retired Supreme Court Judge Robert McDougall QC has said that iCare failed to record the gifts and benefits its executives received, and ‘that is a dreadful look for an organisation that manages many billions of dollars.’
Labor’s bill has already passed the NSW Upper House. But it lapsed in the Legislative Assembly after Mr Perrottet’s Government blocked the House vote from voting.
Labor’s State Insurance and Care Governance (Employees) Bill 2021 would stop iCare from paying its executives more bonuses. The insurer has been criticised for paying eight top iCare executives $8 million in salaries and bonuses over two years.
NSW Labor’s Shadow Minister for Finance and Small Business, Daniel Mookhey said the move was overdue:
“iCare’s top executives ruined the NSW workers’ compensation scheme. iCare should never have paid them millions in salaries and bonuses.
iCare provides workers compensation insurance to more than 326,000 businesses. It insures 3.6 million employees. The agency’s investment portfolio is worth $38 billion. The Treasurer created iCare in 2015. It has only ever answered to him.
Under Dominic Perrottett’s stewardship:
· iCare handed $4 million in salary and bonuses to its eight top executives in FY 2019, despite the agency losing $873 million. 200 of its 1,200 staff were also handed bonuses
· iCare handed three senior executives ‘golden parachutes’ worth $1.2 million after terminating their contracts
· iCare underpaid 52,000 workers up to $80 million, but as March 2021 have only repaid 24 workers
· iCare gave their new CEO a $120,000 pay rise
· iCare secretly paid $134 million to lease and fit out a waterfront office for labour hire company Comensura
· iCare paid for two secret political advisors in Dominic Perotett’s personal office
· iCare awarded at least $6 million of contracts to Korn Ferry, a recruitment firm closely linked to the NSW Liberal Party
· iCare handed $18 million without tender to the IVE Group, the Liberal Party’s printer and a major donor
· iCare overpaid dodgy doctors hundreds of millions of dollars in duplicate and fraudulent payments
· iCare tried to eject 17,500 workers from the workers compensation system to offset the scheme’s growing losses
· iCare last year sought to hike employer premiums by 4% and introduce a ‘gap fee’ for injured workers who need to see a doctor
· iCare’s CEO resigned after it emerged that iCare handed his wife a 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 36 foreign trips in four years – ten 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 a complaint from the former CEO
· 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 2020 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