QLD to again have best workers’ comp scheme in Australia

16th Jul 2015

The Palaszczuk Government’s announcement to repeal the LNP’s unfair changes to the State’s workers’ compensation scheme will ensure Queensland once again has Australia’s best scheme for workers and employers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

ALA Queensland President Rod Hodgson said the decision to reverse the unfair injury thresholds imposed by the former Government was a welcome and necessary move in restoring rights for injured workers across the State.

“In 2013, the Newman LNP Government rammed through unfair changes to Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme that saw the legal rights of up to 60 per cent of the State’s injured workers stripped away,” Mr Hodgson said.

“Those changes were unfair, ideologically-based and unnecessary, and the LNP’s own Parliamentary Committee at the time recommended against such changes, including in a Committee report.

“As recently as last month, the former LNP chair of that inquiry, Michael Crandon, reiterated the quality of those findings, stating to a recent Parliamentary inquiry hearing that the 2013 report ‘was good’[1].

“This report was commended by key stakeholders at the time, yet Mr Newman and the former Attorney-General ignored this and basic democratic principles, instead dressing up unfair changes that disadvantaged injured workers as a solution to a problem that didn’t need fixing,” Mr Hodgson said.

“That outcome, as we disappointingly saw many times over the course of the previous Government, was representative of the former Premier and Attorney General’s disrespect for democratic process.

“Prior to these changes, Queensland had the best workers’ compensation scheme in Australia. It was a scheme that was fair for workers and for employers, with some of the lowest premiums in the country and nation-leading solvency. 

“Today’s announcement by the Palaszczuk Government is very welcome, and follows a long campaign fought to restore these rights for injured Queensland workers.  The Government took this issue to the people and has a mandate to restore fairness,” he said.

“This is good news for injured workers, but also for employers, given the recent announcement that premium rates for employers will remain the lowest in Australia,” he said.

Mr Hodgson also commended the State Government’s proposal to develop a scheme to assist injured workers who may otherwise miss out as a result of the Newman Government’s workers’ compensation scheme changes.

“There is no doubt that the removal of these rights for injured workers and other legal rights played a role in the defeat of the Newman Government - no sensible future government would repeat its excesses,” Mr Hodgson said.

“The stakeholder consultation process preceding this reform package was inclusive and healthy. It has taken substantial work, but the ALA believes this has been a fair, thorough and consultative process that also vindicates the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry recommendations made under the previous Government.”  

[1] Public hearing – Inquiry into the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, 15/06/2015