10th December 2016. WIA Reform Group News Letter number 34. WIA Temporary Office Manager Fred Swainston overpaid by almost 50%


What some have suspected has now been confirmed.  The WIA overpaid Fred Swainston during his 7 ½ month engagement as National Office Manager; by a whopping $675 (48%) per week.

These are the facts which have been determined from open communications between the WIA Board and the WIA Reform Group:

  • At the August 2015 Board meeting the following resolution was passed:

With effect from Monday 17 August FS is to be paid as a contractor for the performance of duties delivering support to the WIA office. This rate ($2060 inc GST/ week) is equivalent to the current role and is to be implemented for a period of not more than six weeks. (Moved CP, Seconded RH)

  • The “current role” was paid $1385.20 per week.
  • At no point was a contract documented or signed between the WIA and Trainsafe. The “not more than six weeks” turned into seven and a half months.
  • It appears that Fred Swainston was not acting as a bona-fide contractor and the arrangement between the WIA and Fred Swainston did not satisfy the requirements of the Independent Contractors Act of 2006.
  • Apparently, according to Australian Tax Office guidelines, Fred Swainston was in fact filling the temporary role of Office Manager as an employee.
  • Paperwork, announcements and decisions around the appointment and ongoing role performed by Fred Swainston determines that he was an employee of the WIA and not a contractor.
  • In virtually every public statement, the President referred to Fred Swainston as filling a temporary role of office manager. Trainsafe was not mentioned.
  • On the basis of the above, the WIA paid a 48% premium to Fred Swainston over a seven month period.
  • Fred Swainston remained on the Board as Director and Vice President during this period.
  • The WIA’s accounting system (MYOB) was not maintained properly and financial and business systems fell into disrepair during this period.
  • As a result of the incorrect financial record keeping, it now appears the 2015 Financial Report presented at the AGM on Norfolk Island is incorrect and will need to be reworked.
  • The WIA now must resolve incorrect allowances for Goods & Services Tax, Superannuation Guarantee Contributions, Business Activity Statements and Pay As You Go withholding tax.
  • The 2015 Financial Report will need to be reworked, as will financial records from 2016.  This is further work, expense and inconvenience for the WIA and its volunteer Treasurers.
  • The WIA is making arrangements to claim back the overpayments to Trainsafe. We estimate this to be in the order of $15,000-$17,000.

The WIA must demand Fred Swainston repays these over-payments.

Why did the board not oversee Mr Swainston’s performance and address the shortcomings much sooner?

Why has the President failed to take action on these matters?

Why was their no written employment contract?

Our WIA urgently needs a new board.  The President must resign immediately.   The other three directors must resign immediately.  Please support the call for a General Meeting by reading and signing the letter at this link.

Many of your fellow members have already signed.  Please make your voice heard for the good of our hobby.  Please read the background material and call for these directors to step down.  The more signatures we get, the stronger our message.

Contact us if you have any questions.