Calls for Government to disclose actuarial reports relied upon to make workers comp changes
10th Jun 2022
Proposed changes to the SA Return to Work Act mean that many workers who suffer more than one injury face an uncertain future and are likely to be considerably worse off, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“It is ridiculous that workers with the same level of impairment will have significantly different levels of compensation, with some workers being left unable to support themselves and their families,” said Ms Sarah Vinall, State President, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“The Government needs to disclose the detailed actuarial reports that they are relying on to make these amendments. These documents must be made available for proper review and consideration by all stakeholders.
“The Return to Work Act should provide a reasonable balance between the interests of workers and the interests of employers. This panicked response from the Government, which reduces the entitlements of many injured workers with no proper consultation or consideration of the impact it will have, fails miserably to achieve that balance.
“The proposed changes to the legislation must not go ahead without further consultation. The changes are completely one-sided and simply lead to a reduction of benefits for injured workers without attempting to consider any broader reassessment of the scheme.”
The impact of the proposed reductions in compensation for injured workers is likely to be severe for many workers who have suffered more than one injury. The changes will result in some people receiving a significantly reduced lump sum compensation payment, and payments for ongoing medical expenses and payments for lost income ceasing for those workers who no longer meet the seriously injured worker threshold.
“If the legislation passes we are going to see a great rush of injured workers desperately trying to have their assessment done prior to the 1 January 2023 cut-off date,” said Ms Vinall. “Many workers will miss out on having their assessment done by then and will be significantly disadvantaged.
“There has been considerable workers compensation litigation over the last seven years and, after the hearing of Summerfield, there was finally some clarity for workers to enable them to resolve their claims.
“We are very concerned that the proposed amendment to the legislation will undermine the decision in the Summerfield case and cause a significant increase in litigation, resulting in further uncertainty for workers.”