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Friday, 2nd June, 2017

Health District chairman Tom Hynes Health District chairman Tom Hynes

By Andrew Robertson

Ex-deputy premier replaces board chairman

Far West Local Health District chairman, Tom Hynes, has resigned less than eight months after being accused of orchestrating the removal of four other board members.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced Mr Hynes’ shock resignation and the immediate appointment of former Labor deputy premier, Andrew Refshauge, as his replacement yesterday.

Mr Hynes, who was a member of the FWLHD for six years and its chairman since 2012, was linked to the dismissal of four members of the health district board last year.

Alan Carter, Clyde Thomson, David Lyle and Bradley Clarke had their terms cut short in October by then Health Minister Jillian Skinner who said the board restructure was needed to get the right “skills mix”. 

The minister appointed three new members and also reduced the size of the board to eight.

But sacked board member Alan Carter, whose term wasn’t due to expire until the end of 20118, said the decision followed a governance review that found the relationship between the board and FWLHD chief executive, Stuart Riley, was dysfunctional.

Mr Carter said the board disagreed with the finding and instructed the chairman, Mr Hynes, to amend the report’s findings but he had not done so.

Yesterday Mr Carter said the resignation of Mr Hynes seemed to have coincided with two government reviews into his and the other three board members’ sackings.

“Those two subsequent reviews and now continued questioning seeking answers to our questions have progressed,” he said.

“The latest of those reviews was concluded, I think, about a fortnight ago so if there’s no link it’s very coincidental.”

Mr Carter said he and others were interviewed for both reviews which were held “in general terms to look into the background and circumstances of how the board refresh came about”.

Despite the investigations Mr Carter said the sacked board members were yet to receive any answers to their questions about the timing of their removal and who had provided the advice to the minister that led to it. 

“We still haven’t got answers.”

He said the four also have not seen the final report of the governance review that was conducted.

Mr Hazzard in a statement said that Dr Refshauge would bring a wealth of experience to the role as chairman. 

Dr Refshauge, who is also chairman of CareFlight, was deputy premier for 10 years and a member of the NSW Parliament from 1983 to 2005, holding the ministries of Health, Aboriginal Affairs, Planning, Housing, Education, Training, State Development and Treasurer.

Before entering parliament he worked as a doctor at the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern. 

“I am very pleased that Andrew is taking up this important appointment,” Mr Hazzard said. “He brings such a wealth of experience to the role, not least his work in Aboriginal health, and we look forward to him building strong links with the Aboriginal communities in the far west.”

Mr Hazzard thanked Mr Hynes for “his devoted and lengthy service” to the Far West region.

“For six years he has had the wellbeing of this health district as his top priority.”

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