Reform needed to fix failings of workers’ comp schemes
28th Jul 2020
Serious issues in the workers’ compensation schemes in NSW and Victoria, revealed yesterday by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC TV's Four Corners, highlight an urgent need for reform and require further investigation, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“Lawyers assist injured workers negotiate the workers’ compensation scheme every day,” said Mr Joshua Dale, ALA NSW president and lawyer. “As a result, we are well aware of systemic failings in the system, however, the alleged unethical conduct and financial mismanagement exposed in these media stories is extremely disappointing.
“It is very concerning to hear that multimillion-dollar contracts are allegedly being awarded with zero scrutiny at the same time as injured workers are being dragged through distressing dispute processes that ultimately undermine their ability to recover.”
In NSW the Standing Committee on Law and Justice commenced hearings today in the 2020 Review into the Workers’ Compensation Scheme.
“We are calling for this review to look closely at the behaviour of icare in their hearings,” said Mr Dale. “This is a perfect opportunity to more closely examine the serious issues exposed by the media.”
The ALA has made a submission to this review outlining a number of other areas within the NSW Scheme that require urgent attention and reform. The full submission can be read here.
“We need to remember that we are dealing with individuals who have been injured working to support themselves and their families,” said Mr Jeremy King, ALA Victorian president and lawyer.
“Unethical behaviour by insurance companies cannot be tolerated. Our priority must be to ensure that anyone who is injured at work receives the support they need and fair compensation to look after themselves and their families.
“We hope that, as a result of this public exposure, the unethical behaviour outlined ends now, and the rights and welfare of workers is prioritised and protected.”
The ALA is a national association of lawyers, academics and other professionals dedicated to protecting and promoting justice, freedom and the rights of the individual.