NSW LABOR LABELS TREATMENT OF ICARE WHISTLEBLOWER VILE AND DISGUSTING
NSW Labor today condemned iCare for the ‘vile and morally repugnant’ treatment inflicted on its former General Manager for Compliance, after he blew the whistle about wrongdoing at Treasurer Dominic Perrotett’s $32 billion agency.
Former police officer Chris McCann joined the scandal-engulfed agency in 2016. As General Manager, he launched internal investigations into allegations of theft, fraud and conflicts of interest.
Mr McCann was then subjected to a vicious anonymous bullying campaign. After claiming workers compensation, Mr McCann left iCare. The agency made Mr McCann sign a non-disclosure agreement. There is no evidence iCare completed the investigations Mr McCann started.
iCare’s Chair and two senior Board Members are today due to appear at a NSW Upper House inquiry into the workers compensation system.
NSW Labor’s Shadow Minister for Finance and Small Business Daniel Mookhey said he will question them about Mr McCann’s treatment.
“The treatment meted out to Mr McCann for investigating fraud and corruption was vile and morally repugnant,” Mr Mookhey said.
“Making a whistleblower sign a non-disclosure agreement is a Harvey Weinstein-esque tactic Government agencies should never use.
“The Treasurer should fire the Board that ignored or were ignorant of Mr McCann’s treatment. He should stop defending them.”
iCare provides workers compensation insurance to more than 326,000 businesses. It insures 3.6 million employees. The agency’s investment portfolio is worth $32 billion. The Treasurer created iCare in 2015. It has only ever answered to him.
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 growing 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 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 a 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 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.
Mr Mookhey said: “The Treasurer has his head in the sand about the goings-on of his $32 billion agency.
“Sick and injured workers and employers have lost confidence in iCare.