WorkCover changes hurt all Queenslanders
15th Oct 2013
Today's changes to Queensland's WorkCover scheme announced by the Attorney-General will hurt employers, employees and taxpayers and have been announced without any basis in fact.
Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland President, Michelle James, said it was time for the Government to make clear what evidence was available to justify that the proposed changes would be effective, particularly in light of the release of WorkCover's own Annual Report only late yesterday, which was once again a strong endorsement of the current scheme.
"The Government is going against the recommendations of every piece of credible evidence in relation to WorkCover with its decision announced today," Ms James said.
"The Government's own Parliamentary Committee looked at this issue in full following an extensive review, a review that firmly endorsed the scheme in its current form and also urged against the introduction of thresholds for people seeking to access common law.
"WorkCover's own annual report late yesterday once again confirmed Queensland has the best scheme in the country with WorkCover profits up, common law claims down and the second lowest premiums in Australia.
"Suggestions that unworthy claims are out of control are deceptive nonsense - WorkCover's own Annual Report stated last night common law claims are down, that the cost of these claims are well below what was expected and that the average common law payout was almost 15% less than WorkCover’s target amount.
"The total cost of common law claims was also down more than $50 million compared with the previous year.
"That's not a scheme rife with unworthy claims.
"The Government is choosing to actively ignore the report of its own Committee and its Department's own Annual Report and instead opting to slash injury rights for people hurt in unsafe workplaces.
"The Attorney General appears to have been duped by false claims that the system needs slash and burn changes, when all of the evidence says it is a rock-solid and fair scheme.
"The barrier announced by the government will see half of all people injured in unsafe workplaces without rights - they, and their families will suffer.
"Thresholds don't work, they have been tried interstate and failed both the economics and fairness tests.
"Just last week, a survey showed that 83% of Queenslanders oppose changes to the current system.
"There is still time for the Premier to step in and do the right thing on this issue, otherwise all Queenslanders stand to lose," she said.