New poll shows Qld Premier's seat at risk if WorkCover laws pass

17th Oct 2013

A new poll shows the Premier’s own seat is at risk if the Queensland Government passes laws today to reduce injured employees’ rights for workplace injuries.

A ReachTEL poll of 634 Ashgrove voters, conducted on Tuesday night, shows that 58.5% of Ashgrove voters say they would be less likely to vote for the LNP at the next State election if the Government passes laws to fundamentally change the current workers’ compensation scheme.

The Premier holds his seat with a margin of only 5.7%, showing that on this polling he would be at grave risk of losing his seat if the laws pass.

This backs up statewide polling last week that found 83% of Queenslanders oppose changes to the system, and that the LNP stands set to lose numerous seats at the next election over the issue.

Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Rod Hodgson said the Premier needed to take heed of community sentiment in his own electorate, and across the state, which firmly backs the current workers’ compensation scheme.

“The State Government’s proposed laws will remove the right of employees who are injured in an unsafe workplace to bring claims if their impairment is assessed as 5% and below,” Mr Hodgson said.

“Not only will that impact many thousands of Queenslanders at a practical level, but this latest polling also shows that an overwhelming 88.2% of Ashgrove voters disagree with that decision and support the right of an employee who is injured due to their employer’s negligence to take legal action.

“Further, in a direct rejection of the Government’s policy, the polling shows 76.4% of Ashgrove voters said that employees should be able to bring claims, no matter how serious their injury is.

“This cuts to a core issue that to date has either not been properly understood by the Government or deliberately misrepresented – that thresholds don’t work for employers and they also ignore the major consequences of so-called ‘minor’ injuries for people injured in unsafe workplaces and their families.

“Thresholds of 5% as announced by the Government will mean half of all people injured in unsafe workplaces will have no legal rights to pursue compensation.

“WorkCover’s own Annual Report, released just this week, confirmed Queensland has the best WorkCover scheme in the country – profits are up, common law claims are down and we have the second lowest premiums in Australia.

“It is fair, stable and profitable.

“It also exposes as deceptive, suggestions that unworthy claims are skyrocketing – which has been one of the Government’s key reasons for introducing thresholds - the Annual Report confirms common law claims are down and that the costs of claims are well below what was expected.

“In fact, the average common law payout was almost 15% less than WorkCover’s target amount and the total cost of common law claims was also down more than $50 million compared with the previous year.

“The facts on the strengths of our WorkCover scheme speak for themselves, it is a scheme that’s not broken and doesn’t need fixing, something that was also strongly endorsed by the Government’s own committee when they reviewed the scheme earlier this year.

“It is time for the Premier and the Government to do the right thing by Queenslanders on WorkCover and to not make the mistakes of the other states in passing changes to the WorkCover scheme that don’t pass the fairness or economic test,” he said.

Tags: Queensland Workers' rights WorkCover Workers compensation