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WINZ Review Should Be Released ‘Warts & All’

A top level review of the Department of Work and Income should not have been given to the Department to ‘sanitise’ before its release according to ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman.

Dr Newman today demanded that the Government release the review, being carried out by former State Services Commissioner Don Hunn, ‘ warts and all’ rather than allowing WINZ executives and their lawyers to water it down.

Dr Newman said any behind the scenes doctoring of the report totally flies in the face of the Government’s promise of increased openness, accountability and transparency within the public service.

“For five months, Mr Maharey has held Ministerial responsibility for WINZ. But, his uncontrolled, vicious personal attacks on Christine Rankin, have made it possible for her to take a huge personal grievance and that risk has prevented him from carrying out his government’s pre-election agenda,” she said.

“The Hunn report was the Government’s attempt to publicly act on its promises regarding WINZ while avoiding the precarious legal minefield created by Steve Maharey. By having an independent review of the Department, the Government knew that any criticism of it as a whole would be taken as a direct criticism of the Chief Executive, Christine Rankin further undermining her as CEO,” said Muriel Newman.

“Had Steve Maharey been able to control himself in Opposition, he would not have become a lame duck Minister unable to deal with serious issues surrounding his own Department. Taxpayers would not be forced to pay $800 a day for Mr Hunn to do the Ministers job for him.

The inquiry was announced on February 15 putting the bill for Mr Hunn’s work to date at around $44,000.

“Mr Hunn's review is critical. It should be released ‘warts and all’ so that problems within the Department can be addressed and it can then get on with doing its job,” she said.

Muriel Newman said she would take the opportunity to question Steve Maharey over the WINZ Report when he appears before Parliament’s Social Services Select Committee tomorrow.


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