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Union boss gets $55,000 Board position

SA Unions Secretary Joe Szakacs’ appointment to the Return to Work Board is yet another example of “jobs for the boys” under the Weatherill Labor Government, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today. 

Announced yesterday in the Government Gazette, Mr Lucas said the appointment to a $55,000 position also showed the Weatherill Government had been dishonest in promising a board with a “business focus rather than often opposing stakeholder views”.

“Mr Szakacs’ appointment to the Return to Work SA Board is yet another example of the hypocrisy and double dealing of the Weatherill Government,” said Mr Lucas.

“Clearly Mr Szakacs, who has replaced Mr Malinauskas on the board, is just another union boss who is representing the ‘union stakeholder’ view.

“In September 2013, when Attorney-General was spruiking the benefits of amending the WorkCover Corporation, he said:

“A strong focus of this Bill is a move towards a professionally focussed Board of management which, as far as practicable, reflects the competencies of a publicly listed corporation. Changes to the WorkCover Board will: 

  • Remove the existing rehabilitation and occupational health and safety representation requirements and the requirement to consult with employee and employer stakeholder associations for four of the positions on the Board. These provisions are replaced with the requirement of relevant qualifications or experience to unite Board members with a business focus rather than often opposing stakeholder views. The Government will continue to consult with relevant stakeholders when considering appointments.” (Hansard, 9 September 2013)

“Mr Rau promised there would be strong business focus on the Board, but now the Act is in place, the latest appointment to the so-called ‘Business Board’ is yet another union hack.

“There has already been strong opposition from employer representatives as they believe they were misled by the Weatherill Government.

“The Weatherill Government must now explain how the appointment of Mr Szakacs is consistent with the promise they made to the Parliament and the community.”