An audit of the staffing in NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s office has found three employees were incorrectly engaged as contractors.
The audit, released by Mr Perrottet on Wednesday, was commissioned after it emerged two icare-paid ministerial staffers had been recruited to work on secondment in his office.
icare is an employer-funded workers’ insurer – one of three organisations that replaced WorkCover in 2015. It is owned by the state and overseen by the treasurer, but independent from government.
One of the staff seconded from icare worked for Mr Perrottet in a political role as a policy adviser.
The revelations came as the treasurer was forced to defend the agency over media reports of poor performance and financial management, and prompted the resignation of Mr Perrottet’s chief of staff Nigel Freitas in August.
The review of Mr Perrottet’s staffing confirmed the two icare-paid staffers – the policy adviser and a department liaison officer – were incorrectly engaged, but also revealed another department liaison officer was inappropriately employed.
The third staffer was on secondment from the former Department of Finance Service and Innovation.
All three staff were contractors for their respective agencies, not permanent employees, and therefore could not be seconded to Mr Perrottet’s office.
The policy adviser, a former employee in Perrottet’s office who left to work for icare before being inappropriately seconded back, failed to update his personal interest declaration to reflect his links to icare.
The audit, which reviewed practices between September 2015 and August 2020, also identified administrative deficiencies reflecting inconsistent application of process.
Signed copies of contracts for four employees could not be found, one contract was signed but missing pages, and in another 21 instances contract execution dates were missing or the paperwork was signed and dated after the employee had already begun work.
NSW opposition finance spokesman Daniel Mookhey says the treasurer has systemically mismanaged his office for half a decade in breach of the law.
“Dominic Perrottet needs to take full responsibility for his office’s rorting of icare to suit his own political purposes,” he said in a statement.
An annual audit and additional training of staff on the processes around staff hiring would be undertaken to prevent the errors occurring again, Mr Perrottet said.
“I regret that these mistakes occurred, and also that they have detracted from the hard work of many staff, both past and present, who diligently served the people of NSW,” Mr Perrottet said in a statement.