Queenslanders reject Government's changes to workers compensation

13th Oct 2013

As State Cabinet prepares to consider drastic changes to Queensland's workers compensation scheme, a new poll has shown that Queenslanders overwhelmingly support the State's current system.

The poll, conducted statewide on Thursday, 10 October 2013, shows that 83% of Queenslanders support the right of employees to bring claims for injuries that occur in unsafe workplaces.

Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland President Michelle James said the polling showed that Queenslanders strongly oppose changes mooted by the Government.

"When more than eight out of ten Queenslanders support the current workers compensation system, the Government would do well to listen," Ms James said.

"There is strong evidence that the Government is considering restricting people's right to bring claims, and this polling shows they are out of step with community opinion.

"The figure was even higher (86.1%) in Mt Coot-tha, held by Assistant Minister Saxon Rice and which neighbours the Premier’s seat of Ashgrove.

"The poll also shows that Queenslanders strongly oppose the Government introducing 'thresholds' which remove rights to bring claims for so-called 'minor' injuries.

"73.1% of Queenslanders support people's right to take legal action for workplace injuries, no matter how serious the injury is.

"Again, the figure was even higher (77.5%) in Mt Coot-tha. It was also higher (76.8%) in the seat of Cairns, held by Assistant Minister Gavin King.

"This shows the public understand that even an injury assessed as 'minor' can still have a devastating effect on someone's working life and family.

The polling also found that these changes could have a major impact on the next State election, with 44.7% of Queenslanders saying they would be less likely to vote for the LNP at the next State election if the Government reduced the rights of workers to sue their employer for negligence.

Again, the figures were higher in Mt Coot-tha (54.9%) and Cairns (50.1%).

Of most concern to the Government should be the fact that 21.6% of LNP voters statewide (20.9% in Mt Coot-tha and 40.3% in Cairns) said they would be less likely to vote for the LNP if it proceeds with these changes.

"These figures show the Government risks losing a significant number of seats if it proceeds with its plans to unnecessarily change Australia's best WorkCover scheme," Ms James said.

"Both Ms Rice and Mr King would be at grave risk of losing their seats, held on margins of 5.4% and 8.9% respectively.

"Why risk that when we already have a scheme that is financially sound, fair for employers, employees and taxpayers and runs at no cost to Government?

"The Government's own committee, which includes LNP members, also confirmed this and recommended no fundamental changes to the Scheme.

"The Committee got it right.

"The Government needs to draw breath before it proceeds with these changes.

"The Premier still has an opportunity to put a stop to these changes for Queenslanders, it's the right thing to do," she said.

Tags: Queensland Workers' rights WorkCover Workers compensation