FWA releases statement on HSU

FAIR Work Australia's two-year investigation into financial mismanagement in the national office of the Health Services Union found officials allegedly used members' funds on escort services, excessive travel and hospitality.

FWA general manager Bernadette O'Neill on Monday released a statement detailing the outcomes of the investigation.

The 1100-page report would now be released to the Senate Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the statement read.

Ms O'Neill said the investigation revealed "an organisation that abjectly failed to have adequate governance arrangements in place to protect union members' funds against misuse".

While Ms O'Neill's statement did not reveal the names of the two current officials, former auditor or one former official who were investigated - due to "privacy obligations and the fact I have no protection against defamation" - she did say the "the great majority of contraventions relate to the former official".

"Substantial funds were, in my view, spent inappropriately including on escort services, spousal travel and excessive travel and hospitality expenditure," the statement reads.

The investigation uncovered 181 alleged contraventions of the HSU rules and/or workplace relations and fair work laws, the statement confirmed.

But Ms O'Neill said of those contraventions, 105 were of civil penalty provisions, but "no penalty is available under the legislation for the remaining 76 contraventions".

"I am satisfied that providing the report to the (Senate) committee will not prejudice the civil proceedings," Ms O'Neill's statement read.

Notices of contravention have been issued to individuals and the HSU national office. The union has also been sent a rectification notice.

The statement reveals Ms O'Neill is instructing solicitors to initiate proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia in respect of the report's findings.



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