Workers comp reforms a win for Qld's injured workers, scheme stability

17th Sep 2015

The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today welcomed the passing of significant workers’ compensation scheme reforms that will see key rights restored for thousands of injured workers across Queensland.

ALA Queensland President Rod Hodgson said with the passing of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 today, the rights of all injured Queensland workers had now been restored – a move that would also ensure Queensland can again have the best workers’ compensation scheme in the country for working Queenslanders and their families, and for employers.

“The passing of this Bill today is very significant for Queensland injured workers and their families,” Mr Hodgson said.

“This Bill repeals unfair and unnecessary changes made to our workers’ compensation scheme by the Newman Government in October 2013 - changes that saw the rights of thousands of injured workers stripped away through the implementation of injury impairment thresholds.

“With the introduction of injury impairment thresholds, the Newman Government made it impossible for around 60% of injured Queensland workers to access compensation if they were injured in an unsafe workplace.

“The Newman Government argued thresholds would only affect workers with minor injuries but they could not have been more wrong – thousands of workers have never worked again or had to change careers after suffering injuries that fell below these thresholds.

“Since the Newman Government’s changes in 2013 these workers have had no legal right or ability to pursue compensation, despite the major impact their injuries have had on their ability to work or provide for their families.

“The removal of thresholds with the passing of this Bill today is a win for Queensland injured workers and their families,” he said.

Mr Hodgson said that the Newman Government’s 2013 changes to the State’s workers’ compensation scheme were not only unfair, they were also unnecessary.

“In 2013, Queensland had the best performing workers’ compensation scheme in the country, with low premiums, stable claim numbers and high solvency: a scheme that was fair for both employers and for workers.

“Indeed, the LNP’s own committee who reviewed workers’ compensation said no major changes were needed, including specifically recommending against injury thresholds.  The scheme was stable, highly solvent and provided extremely competitive premiums for employers.

“The Newman Government ignored that, and in doing so legislated to take away rights that have been in place for injured workers for the better part of a century.

“The passing of today’s Bill reverses that injustice, and the State Government is to be commended for taking this important step that restores fairness for workers, whilst maintaining financial stability.

“Importantly, in implementing these changes this Bill also provides certainty in ensuring the lowest premiums in Australia for employers, and we commend the State Government for these efforts.

Tags: Queensland Workers compensation