Two senior workcover NSW managers to ‘retire’


On Friday 21 March, a Parliamentary hearing began into recent workers compensation reforms heard victims, lawyers, politicians and doctors saying the new scheme unfairly favours insurance companies, who are using new guidelines to cut costs. Some Workcover NSW managers/reps were put through their paces indeed and we do wonder whether the resignation of 2 senior workcover NSW managers, Julie Newman (CEO Return to Work and Support Division) and John Watson (general manager of the work health and safety division) is really a coincidence…

Two senior WorkCover NSW managers to retire


Anna Patty
Workplace Editor – SMH
March 24 2014

Two of the most senior managers at WorkCover NSW have announced their retirement.

Julie Newman, chief executive officer of the Return to Work and Support Division will retire on August 1 and John Watson (pictured above), general manager of the work health and safety division, will do the same on July 3.

A spokeswoman for WorkCover said they had made “an individual personal decision to retire this year after successful careers”. Each has worked in the public service for more than 30 years.

WorkCover NSW has undergone major structural change, most recently under the O’Farrell government which warned that without reform, the authority was heading towards a $4.5 billion deficit.

The government introduced controversial reforms in June 2012 which included slashing benefits to injured workers and abolishing journey claims.

The changes benefited business who would have otherwise faced premium increases of 28 per cent, according to government estimates.

In 2012, former finance minister, Greg Pearce, said the NSW workers’ compensation scheme has a long history of deficit, having spent only two and a half of the past 16 years in surplus.

The authority is the subject of a statutory review, a parliamentary inquiry and an internal review into bullying.

Greens MP and spokesman for Industrial Relations David Shoebridge said the organisation has faced significant internal problems.

“Many people will now be looking very closely at the O’Farrell government’s next appointment to head WorkCover to see if the government is serious about the interests of working people over and above the interests of corporate profit,” Mr Shoebridge said

“This is an organisation that has seen constant structural change for well over a decade and that has led to serious shortcomings in its oversight of safety and its handling of the workers compensation system.

“Whether it is seriously coming to grips with allegations of internal bullying or humanising the workers compensation system, it will demand political as well as organisational leadership to deliver change.”

A spokeswoman for WorkCover said that Ms Newman joined the organisation as chief financial officer in 2008 and won the Public Service Medal in 2012. Mr Watson won the medal in 2007.

“Julie had a distinguished career in the public sector that spans more than 40 years,” the spokeswoman said.

“John has worked in the public sector for more than 30 years commencing at the Department of Industrial Relations as an inspector and later managing the inspectorate when the department became WorkCover NSW.”

Ms Newman and Mr Watson declined to comment. (Of course…!)


7 Responses to “Two senior workcover NSW managers to ‘retire’”

  1. Bunny your of them is. Timing is definently questionable..

    Goggle the transcript under

    & Im guessing the other one jumped boat before it sank too…

    faith no more April 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm
  2. Like I said – they will bring themselves down eventually!

  3. I recently tried to get some information from WorkCover so I could make a complaint and got a letter from one of those from WorkCover group at the inquiry saying he had answered the complaints I had not yet made and telling me he would not reply to any more complaints!! WTF!!! so I made another complaint pointing out basically how disgusting and absurd and now I have been reinstated as a complainant so i will be rolling forward with my complaints- The motto- never say never!!! The truth will be revealed in the end!!.
    I would think he looked a little like he didn’t know what was going on at the inquiry from what I saw on the 7.30 report. He gets paid over $400 000 pa, so he should be a bit more switched on don’t you think?

    Complaint maker March 26, 2014 at 2:48 am
  4. The sad thing is, people like these two think they will be remembered and missed..

  5. Were these the two incompetent talking heads claiming the system was working at the inquiry broadcast on the ABC’s 7.30 Report on Friday night? Makes me wonder about the timing of these retirements.

  6. Let’s hope the resignations don’t stop there and the officers of WorkCover who have accessed and misused the workers compensation information of individuals who have complained about WorkCover go too.

    • Let’s hope the resignations don’t stop there ! You bet! But we say ‘good riddance’ so far!

      workcovervictim3 March 25, 2014 at 10:34 am