Scandal-ridden insurance agency icare has landed the NSW treasurer in hot water again, this time over $18 million worth of contracts handed to a firm with extensive Liberal Party links.
Dominic Perrottet came under fire earlier this year as the state-owned insurance agency faced growing scrutiny over reports of poor financial management and staffing issues, and again after it emerged two icare-paid ministerial staffers had been recruited to work on secondment in his office.
This time, the Labor Party is pressuring him to sack icare's board over the awarding of contracts - some without tender - to the IVE Group, a marketing firm run by former NSW Liberal Party president Geoff Selig.
Since 2015, icare has spent $18.3 million with the IVE Group and its subsidiaries, an icare spokesman told AAP.
IVE Group provides services including mailing, merchandise production, pre-press and printing, stationery, posters and signage, business cards, digital printing, publication printing and freight.
Between 2014 and 2018 the IVE Group donated more than over $80,000 to the NSW Liberal Party and donated more than $55,000 at a federal level in 2018/19 as well.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald and The Age report, icare's board - which is selected by Mr Perrottet - includes Gavin Bell who is also a director at IVE Group and long-time Liberal Party donor Michael Carapiet.
Its general manager Kary Peterson was policy director to former government minister Greg Pearce, while its head of board governance Audrey Abrams previously worked for Mr Perrottet and her father, one of the treasurer's close political allies, the SMH and The Age reported.
Some of the contracts awarded to the firm were done so without going to tender, which Labor's Shadow Minister for Finance Daniel Mookhey said "stinks" of interference.
"The web of connections between IVE Group, iCare and the Liberal Party are mind-boggling," Mr Mookhey said in a statement.
"No one can have any confidence in icare when it is so entwined with senior Liberal Party figures and donors."
"icare won't change until the government sacks the board and gets rid of its top management."
The IVE Group, previously known as BlueStar, has provided services to icare and its predecessor organisations since at least 2008 and is used by a number of other government agencies, an icare spokesman told AAP.
Gavin Bell listed his membership of the IVE Board on the Disclosure of Interest Register in February 2016, and has not been involved in any decisions regarding the firm, they said.
Mr Perrottet declined to comment on the opposition's call for the board to be sacked, but pointed to the review of icare announced last month.
He said the review, which will be led by retired Supreme Court Judge Robert McDougall QC, will be a "root and branch" examination of the workings of icare.
icare is an employer-funded workers' insurer, owned by the state and overseen by the treasurer, but independent from government. It was one of three organisations that replaced WorkCover in 2015.