21 April, 2024
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PERROTTET’S ICARE BLOWS ANOTHER $1.2 BILLION

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NSW Labor is warning that a $1.2 billion explosion in the size of the deficit in the state’s main workers compensation scheme will force the premiums paid by 3.2 million businesses to sky-rocket.

iCare’s documents show that the deficit in the nominal insurer had risen to a whooping $1.46 billion as of 31 December 2021. That deficit was $242 million just six months earlier.

NSW Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the exploding deficit was proof that nothing is changing at Dominic Perrotett’s scandal-plagued insurer.

“This result is a disaster. iCare continues to lose employers’ money hand-over-fist,” Mr Mookhey said.

“Premier Perrottet needs to take responsibility for this fiasco. iCare’s performance is getting worse, not better.

“Premiums are already set to climb by 40 percent by the end of the decade. They will come under even more pressure after this massive loss.”

The Perrottet government blocked Labor from abolishing lavish bonuses for future iCare executives last month. The bill is due for debate in the Upper House as early as tomorrow. Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Sophie Cotsis vowed to again move to end iCare’s bonus culture :

“These losses are a punch in the guts for mum and dad businesses as well as injured workers. They blew the whistle on iCare years ago. They have to pay for iCare’s continuing mismanagement.”

“If the NSW Government wants to rebuild the trust of workers and employers they must end iCare’s toxic bonus culture and pass Labor’s reforms.”

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 Premier created iCare in 2015. Until last year, it had only ever answered to him.

Under Dominic Perrottet’s stewardship:

  • iCare underpaid 52,000 workers up to $80 million
  • iCare underpaid 1300 dust disease victims up to $93 million.
  • iCare is increasing employer premiums by at least 40% over the next decade.
  • iCare racked up underwriting losses totalling $4.94 billion in the three years to June 2021, resulting in the destruction iCare’s $3.9 billion surplus.
  • Treasurer Dominic Perrottet had to rush approval of $4 billion emergency bailout of the iCare managed workers compensation fund which was protecting NSW’s police officers, paramedics, nurses and teachers, after it came within 23 minutes of plunging into a crisis in June last year.
  • In May 2022, 193,000 injured workers had their personal information leaked by email to hundreds of employers in a mass privacy breach blamed on ‘human error’. Despite Labor calls for an independent investigation, no action has been taken.
  • iCare tried to introduce a ‘gap fee’ for injured workers needing to see a doctor last year.
  • iCare awarded its new CEO a $120,000 pay rise in early 2022, making him NSW’s highest paid public servant.
  • Senior Treasury officials said in internal emails that iCare had a ‘direct line’ to Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, and they could not rein in the scandal- plagued agency.
  • iCare last year was caught secretly paying a labour hire company $700,000 to hire a former US Republican Operative to work in Dominic Perotett’s ministerial office as Treasurer.
  • iCare was found to have awarded a $140 million IT contract in a seven-day tender, despite bidders warned the rushed process would lead to ruin. The project’s cost has since risen to $360 million and remains incomplete.
  • iCare was busted for handing $18 million without tender to the IVE Group, the Liberal Party’s printer and a major donor, led by a former President of the NSW Liberals.
  • iCare broke its own procurement rules to award at least $6 million of contracts to Korn Ferry, a recruitment firm closely linked to former NSW Liberal Party Minister and Party Treasurer.
  • A leaked report from last year shows that Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s scandal-plagued agency iCare overpaid dodgy doctors hundreds of millions of dollars in duplicate and fraudulent payments.
  • iCare handed $4 million in salary and bonuses to its eight top executives in FY 2019, despite the agency losing $873 million that year. 200 of its 1200 staff were also paid bonuses.
  • iCare’s former CEO had to resign due to conflict-of-interest after it emerged that iCare handed his wife a $770,000 contract without tender.
  • The same 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 total of 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.
  • The Auditor-General slammed iCare in a report last December for illegally using employer’s money to bankroll its lavish spending.
  • Former Supreme Court Justice Robert McDougal slammed iCare for ‘failure of governance, sloppy execution and difficulties in getting injured workers access to their entitled benefits’ in an April 2021 review.
  • An Upper House Inquiry slammed iCare’s Board for ‘comprehensively failing to properly govern the insurer’ in an unanimous report agreed to by all parties.
  • A damning independent review from 2019 found that in 46 percent of claims handled, iCare failed to follow the relevant law.

 

DANIEL MOOKHEY MLC

NSW SHADOW TREASURER

SOPHIE COTSIS MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, 

SHADOW MINISTER FOR WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY

MEMBER FOR CANTERBURY

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