The Daily Telegraph has uncovered that the appointment of Paul John Gregory, a lawyer who was sentenced to two years imprisonment for tax fraud in 2010, as WIRO’s Implementation Director is part of a string of apparent “jobs for the boys” appointments involving Mr Garling.
Workcover NSW WIRO appoints former lawyer who was sentenced to prison
‘Jobs for the boys’ inquiry into WorkCover Independent Review Office
Andrew Clennell State Political Editor
The Daily Telegraph
June 22, 2015
One of the state government’s “independent” oversight agencies is in the midst of a “jobs for the boys” scandal that even includes giving a senior position to a lawyer jailed over the Operation Wickenby tax fraud affair.
Sacked former finance minister Greg Pearce’s hand-picked CEO of the WorkCover Independent Review Office (WIRO), Kim Garling, has on his team a law school friend who previously served a year in jail for his role in John Farnham’s former manager Glenn Wheatley’s tax fraud.
The appointment of Paul John Gregory, Glenn Wheatley’s former lawyer who was sentenced to two years imprisonment for tax fraud in 2010, as WIRO’s Implementation Director is part of a string of apparent “jobs for the boys” appointments involving Mr Garling uncovered by The Daily Telegraph.
Last night, finance minister Dominic Perrottet ordered the head of his department to conduct an “independent investigation” into the revelations.
The WIRO was set up in 2012 as part of the government’s WorkCover reforms in negotiations in the upper house and is supposed to deal with complaints about the WorkCover system, including from injured workers.
Mr Garling’s team then hired Anthony Johnston — the husband of Mr Pearce’s chief of staff Jo McCafferty — as acting director of information technology.
Mr Johnston’s contract was terminated following revelations of his appointment in The Daily Telegraph — but a firm that he now works for has had subsequent dealings with WIRO.
Among the fresh revelations uncovered by The Daily Telegraph today is the fact WIRO has employed:
- Mr Gregory, who attended law school with Mr Garling in the early 1970s;
- Consultant David Effeney, who says he knows Mr Garling because their sons attended private school Riverview together;
- Director Phil Jedlin, whose son also went to Riverview with the sons of Mr Garling and Mr Effeney;
- A former colleague of Mr Garling, former Industrial Relations Commission judge Conrad Staff, to undertake a review of the Workers Compensation Act;
- Mr Staff’s daughter Camilla as a temp;
- Resolve Software, where Mr Johnston now works, on several contracts.
There is no suggestion anyone was not qualified for their role, but it does raise the question whether the proper appointment process was followed by WIRO.
Mr Johnston confirmed that, from time to time, he had visited the WIRO since departing but yesterday denied having anything to do with Resolve Software’s involvement with the office.
Mr Garling also said Mr Johnston was not involved in Resolve’s work at the agency.
Mr Effeney is a vascular surgeon but has been employed to look at hearing loss compensation claims and run seminars for staff on heart health. He confirmed he knew Mr Garling through “family interactions”.
“He asked me to come and help him,” Mr Effeney said. “His son and my son went to school together.”
Asked why he was hired to deal with hearing loss compensation claims, Mr Effeney said “because we established there was a problem. It’s only on a temporary basis.”
Mr Gregory has one of the most senior positions in the office as WIRO implementation director and authorises more than $3 million a month of government grants.
“He (Mr Gregory) was one of 150 at uni with me, yes,” Mr Garling said. “As you know, I don’t hire anyone, he was offered up. He was hired by Safety Return to Work (WorkCover division of the Office of Finance and Services).”
Asked if he recommended Mr Gregory, he said: “It’s not something I can discuss.”
Mr Gregory was released from jail after serving one year in 2012. He was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Mr Garling declined to comment on Mr Jedlin’s appointment, including whether he recommended him.
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