Workers compensation crisis - employers’ submission

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Workers compensation crisis - employers’ submission

Twenty three NSW employer organisations have recently and jointly submitted to all sides of the NSW Parliament a number of measures which are intended to remedy the rapidly deteriorating NSW workers compensation system.

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Twenty three NSW employer organisations have recently and jointly submitted to all sides of the NSW Parliament a number of measures which are intended to remedy the rapidly deteriorating NSW workers compensation system.

The NSW employer organisations’ have argued for a two stage strategy aimed at achieving an affordable workers’ compensation system.

The first stage of the strategy calls for reforms to be passed through the Parliament before Christmas of this year. These reforms would involve immediate changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act 1987 and other administrative amendments to alleviate the cost pressures on the system. Proposed changes under Stage 1 include:

  • introduce accredited WorkCover practitioners as treating doctors after first week of incapacity;
  • remove normal home/work/home journeys from available journey claims;
  • alter definition of ‘injury’ to provide that employment must be a ‘substantial’ factor in causation of illness or injury;
  • reduce maximum lump sum benefits for death, disablement or permanent loss of body part;
  • reduce maximum pain and suffering benefit to levels consistent with other States, as well as introducing a threshold for pain and suffering claims;
  • introduce a premium structure more directly related to the risks of the occupational activity actually performed;
  • provide an increased emphasis on conciliation; and,
  • remove workers rights to common law remedies.

The proposed Stage 2 would involve an independent inquiry into the system by a prominent business person to commence no later than January 1997. The aim of the inquiry would be to re-establish the two basic principles of injury prevention and early return to work.

This would be done by addressing: community attitudes to workers’ compensation; injury rates; return to work strategies; and, the role of each and every stakeholder in the workers’ compensation system. The goal of the proposed Stage 2 would be to deliver a sustainable workers’ compensation system with average payroll costs of 2% or less.

 

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