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WorkCover inquiry must not lead to higher premiums

Release Date: 23/04/2012

The Illawarra Business Chamber said the possibility of increasing WorkCover premiums by around 30% is simply not an option, and that’s why the Government’s commitment to reform the scheme will be strongly supported by the business community across the State.

NSW Minister for Finance and Services, and Minister for the Illawarra, Greg Pearce, has announced the formation of a parliamentary committee to look at, and report back on, many aspects of the scheme, including its performance, financial sustainability and functions.

Illawarra Business Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Leask said if allowed to continue, the current scheme would be a disaster for business owners across the State.

“NSW already has higher premiums than Victoria and Queensland, so any premium increase will only exacerbate the many imposts on business owners throughout NSW, and further weaken their capacity to compete, and to provide employment,” Mr Leask said.

“As our business conditions survey released yesterday indicated, businesses across the Illawarra are in no shape whatsoever to accommodate any increase in employment costs.

“To load up premiums simply as a way of fixing the problem is a classic lose/lose scenario. It’s clear we need other options.

“What needs to be found are solutions that are financially sustainable and at the same time protect employees who are legitimately injured at work.

“Those solutions need to include a reinforced emphasis on getting injured workers back to work faster.
“The Government should be commended for tackling this important area head on and not putting it in the ‘too hard basket’.”

Mr Leask said the review provides the opportunity to consider the best practices of other States in order to create the right model for NSW.

“This is far too important an issue to turn into a debate simply about employers paying more or workers getting less,” Mr Leask said.

“A workers compensation scheme should be based on the principles of fair and equitable outcomes that allow those injured to rehabilitate, and ultimately return to work as quickly as possible.”

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