Probe into health rort

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - TONY BARRASS

WA’s cor­rup­tion watch­dog will scru­ti­nise an­other mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar deal signed off by cor­rupt bu­reau­crat John Fuller­ton, this one un­earthed by the McGowan Govern­ment’s own in­quiry into the WA Health scan­dal.

The Sun­day Times can also re­veal 13 State agen­cies signed 15 con­tracts with the 11 now­banned con­trac­tors ex­posed in Au­gust’s bomb­shell Cor­rup­tion and Crime Com­mis­sion’s re­port into cor­rup­tion in the North Met­ro­pol­i­tan Health Ser­vice.

Of the 15 con­tracts worth $6.73 mil­lion, 11 have been ter­mi­nated and four are in the process of be­ing can­celled.

The orig­i­nal CCC in­ves­ti­ga­tion — co­de­named Op­er­a­tion Neil — found Mr Fuller­ton, along with se­nior Health bu­reau­crats David Mul­li­gan and Shaun En­sor, awarded their mates lu­cra­tive govern­ment ten­ders.

In re­turn, the CCC found they re­ceived a range of back­han­ders such as free in­ter­state and over­seas travel, cash pay­ments, free lunches and din­ners, tick­ets to ma­jor sport­ing events and in Mr Fuller­ton’s case, a cut­price re­fur­bish­ment of his fam­ily home. The Fi­nance Depart­ment re­view, over­seen by the Pub­lic Sec­tor Com­mis­sion on Premier Mark McGowan’s in­struc­tion, will be tabled when Par­lia­ment re­sumes Tues­day week.

The re­view also found:

GOVERN­MENT agen­cies such as the Le­gal Prac­tice Board, Wa­ter Cor­po­ra­tion WA, the Pub­lic Trans­port Author­ity, the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties, the In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion and even Trea­sury had been en­snared in the scan­dal.

AN AB­SENCE of a con­sis­tent ap­proach to pro­cure­ment across the WA pub­lic sec­tor led to an in­creased risk for mis­con­duct.

RECORD keeping and fi­nan­cial re­port­ing within the 129 WA govern­ment agen­cies could be im­proved to “en­sure greater ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency” in govern­ment.

The re­port specif­i­cally high­lighted sub­stan­tial is­sues with two govern­ment con­tracts, one of which has been re­ferred to the CCC.

That con­tract be­tween QED En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices and the North Met­ro­pol­i­tan Health Ser­vice was signed off by Mr Fuller­ton in Oc­to­ber 2015. It re­lates to QED un­der­tak­ing as­bestos man­age­ment in var­i­ous med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties un­der a five-year deal which has since been ter­mi­nated. More than $2.7 mil­lion was paid to the com­pany. The re­view found the con­tract did not com­ply with the rel­e­vant pro­cure­ment poli­cies and pro­cesses.

The other ma­jor rev­e­la­tion re­lated to a $1.06 mil­lion ad hoc agree­ment be­tween the Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices Com­mis­sion and con­trac­tor West­side Fire Ser­vices which the re­port de­scribed as the re­sult of poor pro­cure­ment prac­tices.

Mr McGowan said WA’s ex­po­sure “was gen­er­ally lim­ited, beyond what has al­ready been iden­ti­fied by the CCC” but “two par­tic­u­lar is­sues were dis­cov­ered and th­ese are both be­ing ad­dressed”.

“The re­view did also raise con­cerns re­gard­ing the lack of a con­sis­tent ap­proach to pro­cure­ment, which is some­thing that is be­ing ad­dressed by govern­ment through pub­lic sec­tor re­form.”

The ban on the con­trac­tors re­mains un­til fur­ther no­tice.

John Fuller­ton

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