Withdrawal of workers comp bill welcome but lawyers call for careful consideration of new amendments

14th Jun 2022

Lawyers representing injured workers have welcomed the withdrawal of the amendments previously proposed to the SA Return to Work Act, but are calling for careful review of the new Return to Work (Scheme Sustainability) Bill 2022.

“We are relieved that the original Bill has been withdrawn,” said Ms Sarah Vinall, State President, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA). “However, we need to see the new Bill urgently so that we can fully assess the impacts of the amendments now being proposed.

“These proposed amendments are major changes. We need to remember that these decisions impact the long-term medical and financial situation of people who have suffered serious injury doing their job.

“It is essential that time is taken to ensure the full effects of the amendments are adequately understood and considered.

“It is also critical that the legislation is drafted properly and is clear and unambiguous. If not, it has the potential to lead to expensive litigation and further uncertainty.

“On our current understanding, we are concerned that these amendments will have a retrospective impact, meaning that they apply to workers who have their assessment after 1 January 2023. In our experience any reforms with a retrospective clause will generally be unfair to the affected individual workers.

“There are many workers who have already been injured and will be unable to have their assessment prior to this date due to their condition not being stable or being unable to get an appointment in time.

“If the legislation passes we are going to see a great rush of injured workers desperately trying to have their assessment done prior to the 1 January 2023 cut-off date. Many workers will miss out on having their assessment done by then and could be disadvantaged.

“The government’s priority must always be to ensure that anyone who is injured at work receives the support they need so they can look after themselves and their families.”

Tags: South Australia Workers compensation