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icare has slammed a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry that called out its senior executive for failing to declare some business interests, including two chairmanships, one at a New Zealand-based mortgage group, while earning a salary of $870,000 at the state’s embattled workers’ compensation scheme.
An NSW parliamentary inquiry found that Rob Craig, an interim executive for personal injury claims at icare, was the chairman of two other companies – one of which was not declared in writing for three years. He also holds a financial interest in another organisation that provides health services related to workers’ compensation.
Aside from his position at icare, Craig serves as the chairman of mortgage specialist Squirrel Group and the Australian Payments Network. He also holds a financial interest in Mind my Health Pty Ltd, which provides mental health services in workers’ compensation matters outside of icare.
Committee member and Upper House Labour MP Daniel Mookhey expressed his concern on the impact of a leader with “side hustles” in the workers’ compensation system.
“Shouldn’t the only focus of the group executive responsible for fixing the workers’ compensation system be the workers’ compensation system?” Mookhey said, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
However, interim icare chief executive Don Ferguson argued that many employees have secondary roles. He stated: “That’s not against the rules,” adding that Craig has “enormous capacity for work.”
Craig added that while he had not declared his other positions in writing for three years, he informed the senior icare management about his other roles verbally.
The inquiry also heard Craig negotiated $35 million worth of contracts under an “unlimited delegation” power that allowed him to enter into contracts of any value for a new payment management system.
Craig claimed that former chief executive Vivek Bhatia gave him written authority. However, icare policy required all contracts above $10 million to be approved by the board. David Plumb, the chair of the audit and risk committee at icare, also said he was unaware that Craig had unlimited authority to contract by direct negotiation.
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