SES chief faces axe for sacking whistleblower Tara McCarthy – The Australian

Jun 2, 2014

The outcome from the ICAC investigation into the sacking of PSA member Tara McCarthy was given extensive coverage in The Australian.

Read the article HERE.

NSW’s State Emergency Service boss Murray Kear is facing the axe after being declared corrupt.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) today ruled the SES commissioner acted corruptly by sacking a senior whistleblower and for failing to investigate serious allegations raised about an SES deputy commissioner.

ICAC recommended that Emergency Services Minister Stuart Ayres sack Mr Kear.

NSW Premier Mike Baird, who has staked his leadership on ridding the state of corruption, says he will consider the report.

“It’s clear in light of the report today, there needs to be cultural changes (within the SES),’’ he told reporters in Sydney.

“There needs to be changes and we’ll be responding shortly.’’

The ICAC says Mr Kear engaged in corrupt conduct by failing to properly investigate allegations against deputy commissioner Steven Pearce and by sacking deputy commissioner Tara McCarthy in 2013.

Ms McCarthy reportedly made allegations against Mr Pearce regarding two SES contracts, the use of SES funds to purchase roof racks and electric brakes for Mr Pearce’s car, the obtaining of an SES vehicle for an SES manager and the potential falsification of diary entries.

ICAC said that Ms McCarthy was sacked on May 14, 2013, without notice or explanation and says she was escorted from her workplace after she had reported corruption to her superiors.

Mr Kear allegedly told her he had lost trust and confidence in her.

The report noted Mr Kear and Mr Pearce were both former SES officers and had known each other since at least 2006.

ICAC has recommended Mr Kear be investigated under the Public Interest Disclosures Act.

The Public Service Association of NSW says it welcomes the ICAC report.

“If the Baird government wants to demonstrate its commitment to transparency, then Deputy Commissioner McCarthy should be immediately reinstated,’’ association general secretary Anne Gardiner said in a statement.

“Misuse of these unfair contracts is clearly a recipe for corruption.’’

SES whistleblower vindication highlights PSA contracts concern

May 28, 2014

On 8 August 2013 the PSA wrote to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and raised concerns that elements of the Government Sector Employment Act may present a corruption risk.

Read the letter here (PDF)

The decision today (Wednesday 28 May 2014) by the ICAC, which vindicates sacked whistleblower and State Emergency Service Deputy Commissioner Tara McCarthy, goes to the heart of the concerns we voiced last year.

Read our media release here (PDF)

State Emergency Service whistleblower vindicated by ICAC

May 28, 2014


The Public Service Association of NSW (PSA) welcomes today’s ICAC report which vindicates sacked whistleblower and State Emergency Service Deputy Commissioner Tara McCarthy.

“If the Baird Government wants to demonstrate its commitment to transparency then Deputy Commissioner McCarthy should be immediately reinstated,” said PSA General Secretary, Anne Gardiner.

“The employment contract that Deputy Commissioner McCarthy and other senior public servants are required to sign means they can be sacked for any or no reason with no right of appeal.”

“Misuse of these unfair contracts is clearly a recipe for corruption. It is critical that the NSW Government gets rid of these contracts so public servants feel safe to speak out when they encounter corrupt behaviour.”

On 14 May 2013, Ms McCarthy was sacked without notice or explanation and escorted from her workplace after she had reported corruption to her superiors.

“I took my responsibilities as a public servant very seriously,” said Ms McCarthy, a PSA member.

“The NSW SES consists of almost 10,000 men and women who give tirelessly and generously to the community during floods and storms. They do so as volunteers often taking unpaid leave from their own jobs.

“Their commitment strengthened my own resolve to uphold the values and integrity of the NSW public service even more acutely.

“I also believed in the protections for public servants contained in the Public Interests Disclosures Act. That if I uncovered and reported corruption I would be protected from detrimental action, including, dismissal. I was wrong.

“Today’s findings however are fair and just.

“The community needs to be confident that public officials will report corruption. Public officials in turn must be confident that they will be protected if they do so,” Ms McCarthy said.

PSA Media Release – State Emergency Service whistleblower vindicated by ICAC (PDF Version)


May 22, 2014

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Your pay – Your say web chat

May 20, 2014

As members would be aware, on 6 May, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Baird Government’s position that increases in superannuation are to be included under its wage cap.

This means members employed under the Public Sector Salaries and related awards will, under the 2013 wage case, receive no more than the 2.27% that has been already paid.

This equates to the 2.5% available under the Government’s wages policy discounted by the rise in the superannuation guarantee levy.

The decision could result in members losing out on thousands of dollars of lost wages over the coming years if the superannuation guarantee contribution rises.

We are seeking the opinion of members in relation to an offer received last week from the State Government which proposes a 2.27% increase in salaries in relation to our 2014 pay claim

The rise would be effective from July 2014.

However, this offer was made on the condition that we do not challenge the Court of Appeal decision in the High Court.

To ascertain the thoughts of members, the PSA is holding a web chat titled Your pay – Your say.

It is being held from 12 noon to 2pm on Thursday 22 May 2014.

To be involved click HERE.



Reminder – People Matter Survey [countdown date=2014/05/30] closes in [dtimer][/countdown]

May 16, 2014

The PSA strongly encourages members to participate as it provides a rare opportunity for the voices of public sector workers to be heard.


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