The Rann Government had been left “red faced” by revelations that the independent actuary they appointed to do the WorkCover review was the same person they had attacked and denigrated for five years.
Liberal Member of the Legislative Council, Rob Lucas, said today that last year Minister Michael Wright announced he had appointed two independent experts – Alan Clayton and John Walsh – to conduct the independent review of WorkCover. Mr Walsh was a consultant actuary who, it was stated, was highly regarded in industry circles.
However, for the last five years Rann Government Ministers for their own political purposes have lined up in Parliament to attack an unnamed expert actuary formerly employed by WorkCover to calculate the level of unfunded liabilities:
“I think it was the former board, not the current board (which is a good board) that sacked the former actuary – and they did it for a good reason” (Minister M Wright, 5 December 2006);
“…I was advised by the former board that the former actuary, who to the best of my memory was sacked by the former board, may have underestimated the unfunded liability by $100 million” (Minister M Wright, 5 December 2006);
“…the figures used under the Liberal Government were wrong and may have been wrong to the tune of $100 million. They significantly understated the true level of liabilities” (Treasurer K Foley, 24 September 2003);
“Very, very poor actuarial advice from the then actuary under the Liberal Government’s governance saw a reduction in the levy rate that should not have occurred” (Treasurer K Foley, 18 September 2003).
Mr Lucas said that evidence to the last meeting of the Statutory Authorities Review Committee by the Chairman of WorkCover, Mr Bruce Carter, has now revealed the name of the former actuary was John Walsh – and left Mr Wright and the Rann Government red faced!
“Mr Wright now has to explain publicly why he has appointed an expert who he has been attacking and denigrating for almost five years!
“If Mr Wright now accepts Mr Walsh is an expert actuary then he and Mr Foley should apologise publicly to Mr Walsh for attacking and denigrating his reputation over the last five years.
“This is another embarrassing bungle by the error prone Mr Wright and sooner or later the Premier will have to have the courage to remove him from the Ministry.”