Victorian WorkCover funds continue to be plundered - ALA
4th May 2012
The Australian Lawyers Alliance is concerned that a three percent reduction in Victorian Workers Compensation premiums, while enticing superficially, hides a very black cloud that is floating over the rights of seriously injured workers.
“Victorian employers already pay the lowest workers compensation premiums in Australia, but the government has now announced that as of July 1, 2012, premiums will be reduced by a further three percent,” ALA Victorian President, Emily Anderson, said.
She said the government proclaimed that the premium reduction would result in annual savings of $57 million to business, but it was how this cut would impact on the rights and benefits of seriously injured workers that was concerning.
Ms Anderson said earlier this year, legislation was passed to remove $471.5 million from the WorkCover fund during the next four years.
“The government intends to ‘rewrite’ the WorkCover Act, but refuses to provide any information as to exactly what changes are in store.
“The newly announced premium reduction, coupled with the recent raid of the fund, sends a clear and worrying message to Victorian workers whose lives have been devastated by industrial injury,” Ms Anderson said.
She said the premium reduction was a short-sighted attempt at garnering political support from the business community, but failed to instill confidence in the government’s commitment to ensuring the long-term viability of the Victorian WorkCover scheme.
“The government emphasizes that it is committed to looking after businesses, despite fiscal challenges – the 2012/2013 Budget offers no such reassurance to injured workers,” Ms Anderson said.