Saturday 26th of September 2020

he did not know he was saving money?...


The chief of staff for New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrotet has resigned.

It comes after revelations insurance body iCare paid for the salaries of two of the Treasurer's personal ministerial staff.

The workplace compensation agency has been under under scrutiny after Four Corners and the Sydney Morning Herald revealed hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and underpayment.

Shadow Minister for Finance Daniel Mookhey said employers signing up to iCare weren't expecting to pay for the Treasurer's political staff members.

"How can the Treasurer not have known that his scandal-ridden agency was paying for two members of his personal political staff?

"The treasure has got to make a very clear explanation as to how that happened."


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meanwhile, at the federal coffers...

A controversial $10 million given to Foxtel to broadcast women’s and under-represented sports has been revealed as being funded under a federal coronavirus response package, a decision derided as a “mockery”.

Labor has slammed the government for providing “absolutely no accountability” around the decision to award the funding.

As reported last month, the $10 million came in addition to a previous $30 million grant to the broadcaster in 2017 under the same program to show under-represented sports. Questions were raised over that previous decision, after the government declined to answer why and how the funding was allocated and spent.

In July, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young called the additional $10m “another public handout to the Morrison government’s Murdoch mates”, claiming it was unfair to send such funds to the pay TV broadcaster while the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was subject to an indexation freeze on funding.

She told The New Daily at the time that the decision “really is the height of arrogance.”


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At this stage, imagine that this cash could be a blessing as it should prevent more attacks by the Murdoch empire on the ABC... This could be shut up moneys or even help the Daily Telegraph praise the ABC and make the government give the full indexation of budget to which the ABC is entitlted to


Meanwhile at jobkeeper:


Hundreds of thousands more Victorians will be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, under changes worth an extra $15 billion.

Key points:

  • The new guidelines for the JobKeeper extension will begin on September 28
  • More businesses and workers will now qualify for the government payments
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said the Victorian lockdowns have forced the additional $15 billion spend

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced businesses will only need to show that their GST turnover had fallen over one quarter, instead of multiple, to be eligible for the scheme's extension.

Workers will also qualify if they were employed on July 1, rather than March 1. 

"We believe that about 530,000 extra Victorian employees will now join the JobKeeper program over the September quarter, that means 1.5 million Victorian employees will be using JobKeeper," he said. 

"That's nearly half of the private sector workforce across the whole state."

The changes will apply across the country, meaning some businesses in other states will qualify, however Mr Frydenberg said he expected $13 billion of the money to flow to Victoria.

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and gladys's signing off...

The NSW government tried to withhold documents that show bureaucrats concealing Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s personal involvement in a council grants scheme now alleged to be the subject of rorting.

In email correspondence seen by the Herald, a draft answer to parliamentary questions said the Premier signed off on a $1 million grant to Hunters Hill Council under the Stronger Communities Fund, but that answer was struck out and amended.

The correspondence was released to Greens MLC David Shoebridge after Parliament’s independent arbiter, Keith Mason, QC, upheld the upper house MP’s challenge to the government’s claim of privilege over the material.

‘‘Today we can confirm the government deliberately hid the Premier’s role in this $250 million local government grants scandal,’’ Mr Shoebridge said.

‘‘The government knew that what they had done was wrong and that’s why they kept hiding the Premier’s involvement.’’


Sydney Morning Herald 7/8/2020

and a tired hazzard goes tiradic...

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has blamed “tiredness and frustration” for an astonishing personal tirade aimed at the state Labor leader in parliament.

Mr Hazzard called opposition leader Jodi McKay a “goose”, “stupid” and a “complete pork chop” and made disparaging comments about her appearance and dress sense in the NSW Parliament on Thursday.

He said Ms McKay “needed to wear a mask” and went on to say: “If I was sitting next to someone like you in the bus, I would definitely wear a mask.”

It came after Ms McKay had asked Mr Hazzard whether NSW had enough masks stockpiled if they became compulsory to help fight the pandemic.

Mr Hazzard erupted, describing Ms McKay as Labor’s “temporary leader” and calling for her to resign or be stood down.

Ms McKay asked again: “Do we or don’t we have enough face masks?”

“You certainly need one!” Mr Hazzard yelled in response.

On social media later, Ms McKay described Mr Hazzard’s remarks as “unfitting of the minister in charge of our pandemic response”.


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who is edward yap?

A former US Republican political operative and senior policy adviser to the NSW Treasurer was part of a $50,000 government trade delegation to America while he was on the payroll of troubled workers’ compensation insurer icare.

Edward Yap had not worked a day for icare, the state-owned but independent insurance agency, when Dominic Perrottet's office arranged for him to be "seconded" from the organisation so he could remain as a senior policy adviser to the Treasurer.


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Read from top.


The official tasked with auditing staff arrangements in Dominic Perrottet’s office is a former deputy chairman of icare, sparking concerns his inquiry would not fully explore the relationship between the Treasurer’s office and the troubled public insurer.

Treasury secretary Michael Pratt will conduct the audit, but his appointment has been branded a sham by the opposition.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday expressed full confidence in her Treasurer, who is under increasing pressure following the revelation last week that the salaries of two of his personal ministerial staff were paid by the besieged public insurance body.

Mr Perrottet on Thursday night accepted the resignation of his chief of staff, Nigel Freitas, who took responsibility for what he said was an administrative error relating to the secondment of two icare staff, including policy adviser Edward Yap. Mr Freitas had worked with Mr Perrottet for four years.

Secondments from government sector agencies such as icare are permitted and occur regularly. However, the Herald has been told the arrangements relating to Mr Yap and an administrative assistant were discovered on Thursday to have not been documented as required by regulations.

Icare is a state-owned agency created in 2015, whose board is directly accountable to Mr Perrottet.


Read more: SMH 11/8/2020