Proposed new WA workers comp laws will severely impact the rights of injured workers

30th Jun 2023

Lawyers representing injured workers say that the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023 (WA) currently before Parliament is flawed, ambiguous and will reduce the rights of injured workers in Western Australia.

"We are firmly of the view that if this Bill passes the Legislative Council in its current form, the WA Labor Government will have produced legislation that severely impacts the rights of injured workers,” said Mr Neil Morrissey, WA Branch President, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

The ALA has engaged in consultation previously in relation to the Bill but remains very concerned that the Bill as introduced into Parliament will restrict the rights of injured workers, whilst favouring the employer and insurer.

“The Bill needs revision and must not pass the upper house without amendments,” said Mr Morrissey. “These laws impact the long-term medical and financial situation of people who have suffered serious injury doing their job, and so their impact must be properly considered.

“While some of the changes are subtle and their impact will be measured by the way they are interpreted by the Courts, other amendments are quite clearly prejudicial and will negatively impact injured workers and their families. In fact, the proposed changes will restrict the number of injured workers who are able to access compensation.”

In a detailed submission to the WA Government, the ALA has outlined several concerns with the Bill which include: a revised definition of ‘worker’ that will exclude subcontractors with an ABN from accessing the workers’ compensation system; limitations on psychological injuries; and an increased ability for employers to terminate payments.

“We need to remember that these laws affect individuals who have been injured while working to support themselves and their families. Sometimes these injuries can have long term and serious consequences,” said Mr Morrissey. “This Bill needs revision now to ensure that injured workers in WA are not negatively impacted.

“Our priority must always be to ensure that anyone who is injured at work receives the support they need to look after themselves and their families.”

Read the ALA submission here.

Tags: Western Australia Workers' rights Workers compensation