Treasurer’s hangover from party he didn’t even attend

 

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has been forced to ask for an audit of his own office amid a scandal over the government's insurer, icare, which has been footing part of his staff's wage bill.

It comes as The Daily Telegraph can reveal icare representatives have taken 36 overseas trips since 2015 including to a glitzy Las Vegas software conference sponsored by an icare contractor.

CEO John Nagle resigned last week after it emerged he failed to declare his trip to the Guidewire conference which featured a "customer appreciation party" involving dance floors, fluoro costumes, and a lavish pool party.

 

Attendees of Guidewire's 2018 'Connections user conference' let down their hair at a
Attendees of Guidewire's 2018 'Connections user conference' let down their hair at a "customer appreciation party". Source: Supplied


But it has also emerged that another executive, Elizabeth Uehling, was also at the Guidewire conference, despite her attendance not being disclosed in icare's annual report.

Icare, which runs the state's workers compensation scheme, has come under fire for cost blowouts, poor claims management and deteriorating worker outcomes.

The problems have now spread to Mr Perrottet, whose chief of staff resigned after revelations two of his staff members were being paid by icare.

Staff from government agencies are allowed to work on secondment in ministerial offices, but any employment arrangements require sign-off from the Premier's chief of staff.

The Daily Telegraph was told the Premier's office was not involved in these secondment arrangements.

 

Former icare CEO John Nagle resigned after failing to declare his attendance at the party. Source: Supplied
Former icare CEO John Nagle resigned after failing to declare his attendance at the party. Source: Supplied

 

But the Telegraph was separately told there were discussions between the Treasurer's office and the Department of Premier and Cabinet over one of the secondments.

A spokeswoman for Mr Perrottet said the Treasurer's Chief of Staff Nigel Freitas resigned last week "following the discovery of issues regarding the employment of a number of staff".

"In light of this, and in the interests of full transparency, the Treasurer has ordered an audit of his office staffing arrangements going back a number of years," she said.

 

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has been drawn into the issue. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has been drawn into the issue. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

 

Treasury Secretary Michael Pratt will conduct the audit. The findings will be made public.

Labor's finance spokesman Daniel Mookhey said icare's $320,000 overseas travel bill since 2015 showed its "top executives are gallivanting around the world".

An icare spokeswoman said the travel was within guidelines. She said any "inconsistencies" in travel reporting would be corrected in revisions to annual reports.

The Daily Telegraph does not suggest the people pictured in the party photos are employed by icare.

Originally published as Treasurer's hangover from party he didn't even attend


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