Working people in QLD need to prepare for a similar attack on their rights and entitlements as we have experienced NSW…No they won’t be covered once this sham inquiry takes place.
This just goes to show how much time and consideration the rights of injured workers are given by Liberal Government’s – ZERO. We agree with Ms Mohle “It just seems that working people and their rights are about to be reduced to almost nothing”
Inquiry into State Government workers compensation QLD scheme limits witness statements to 90 seconds
ORGANISATIONS appearing at a public hearing for the State Government’s workers’ compensation scheme inquiry will get just 90 seconds to state their case.
In a letter sent by Finance and Administration Committee chairman Michael Crandon, organisations are advised that the one-and-a-half minute time limit will be “strictly adhered to” because of the “large number of witnesses”.
“It is suggested that any opening statement should only highlight your key points and any additional information you wish to raise with the committee,” wrote Mr Crandon.
Mr Crandon said today that 90 seconds was all the time they could afford, given some of the public hearing sessions only ran for 45 minutes, and between 8 and 12 people were attending.
“If we were to give everyone a three minute opening statement, 36 minutes of the allotted time would be taken up in opening statements. It doesn’t allow much time for questions,” Mr Crandon said.
“If we run out of time on the day, we’ll be asking them to forward additional written information to us. We want to gather as much information as we can.”
A total of 183 groups and individuals have made submissions to the inquiry, which will hold public hearings over three half-days starting on October 31.
Beth Mohle from the Queensland Nurses Union said she appreciated a lot of submissions had been made but to be limited to 90 seconds was “unprecedented”.
“It just seems that working people and their rights are about to be reduced to almost nothing,” said Ms Mohle.
“We’re very active submission writers to State and Federal Government, and this is the first time I’ve ever been given a time frame like that.”
She said it was standard to be allocated half an hour, of which ten to 15 minutes was available for opening statements.
“We never revisit our (written) submission entirely. Instead we bring a member along who’s been affected by the issue,” Ms Mohle said.
“It’s not worth bringing someone along for 90 seconds.”
Lawyers, insurers, employers and medical professionals will also appear at the public hearing and it is believed they too have been told to observe the 90-second time limit.
The move is likely to attract further criticism of the Newman Government’s committee system which has previously been admonished for short time frames for submissions and a lack of consultation about new legislation.
In a damning letter, Queensland Law Society president John de Groot scolded the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, over its four-day submission period for the Penalties and Sentences and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
“The appropriate time for consultation is prior to the introduction of legislation into the House, not after,” wrote Mr de Groot.
Bar Association of Queensland President Roger Traves was just as critical pointing out they had “previously raised the question of proper consultation with the committee”.