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New workers compensation laws a victory for commonsense


Release Date: 22/06/2012

The Illawarra Business Chamber has praised the NSW Government for its decisive action in reforming the state’s financially unsustainable workers compensation scheme to protect jobs and bring the scheme in line with other states.

“The NSW Government’s decisive action to reform the state’s uncompetitive and unsustainable workers compensation scheme is a win for future jobs and a stronger NSW economy,” said Mike Leask, CEO, Illawarra Business Chamber.

“The Premier has demonstrated that he is willing to back up his commitment to a stronger NSW economy with bold action.

“Hiking premiums by 28% would achieve nothing more than increasing the cost of employing people. The solution had to be fundamental reform of the Workers Compensation Scheme to make it financially sustainable in the long term.

“A key failing of the system has been poor performance in getting injured workers back into work. I’m very pleased to see reforms being implemented that will focus WorkCover once again on getting injured workers back into the workplace when they are ready and able.”

“NSW’s average premium rate (1.82%) is already significantly higher than Victoria’s (1.39%) and Queensland’s (1.12%), if we are serious about having a competitive and jobs focused economy, premium rates in NSW need to be going down, not up.”

“NSW workplaces have seen a reduction in workplace injuries, yet the scheme is facing a $4 billion deficit. Part of the deficit is due to the effects of the GFC but it is also a result of the way the Scheme is designed and how it has been operating.

“I believe the changes that have been legislated to our workers compensation scheme will help put us on the road to a more competitive system in future years. The financial sustainability of the Scheme will now depend on how well the changes are implemented, monitored and if necessary, refined.

“The decision to review the Scheme after two years is sensible.”

Mike Leask said the NSW Business Chamber had estimated that a failure to reform the workers compensation scheme could have resulted in the loss of 610 jobs and job opportunities in the Illawarra.


“The Premier has taken strong measures to protect the future of 610 jobs in the Illawarra by bringing the state’s workers compensation scheme under control.”

Mike Leask said as the result of these reforms to the Scheme the WorkCover Board should immediately reverse its earlier decision to lift average premiums for the 2102/13 premium year.
 




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