Workcover NSW and VIC scheme Profits at the expense of much needed benefits?!

workcover-and-insurers-profits

Worksafe Victoria have recently released their annual report and presented financial year outcomes to stakeholders. It has revealed a huge dividend payment of $193 million to the State Government. This is an increase on the $126.5 million that was to be extracted in the 2012-13 financial year, according to Government announcements made last st. Interestingly, it was also recently announced by Premier Barry O’Farrell and the new Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance that due to the June 2012 legislative reforms, The NSW Workers Compensation System had reached a $360 million surplus as at the 30th June 2013! But no mention  that the scheme had apparently improved by $1.5 billion in November ever  made! This would have been a strange occurrence considering many of the June 2012 reforms would not have yet impacted on the scheme’s financial viability.

Workcover NSW and VIC scheme Profits at the expense of much needed benefits?!

Needless to say that workcovervictimsdiary.com is both horrified and actively involved in monitoring issues such as these and lobbying Government in various ways about improved benefit delivery to injured workers, rather than extracting profits of this magnitude. I mean just a few weeks ago alone WorkSafe’s CEO mentioned she was planning on cracking down on Victorian injured workers and planned to abolish common law, even though Victoria has the highest common law “criteria”

The NSW workers compensation system is still in need of reform

By the IWSN

In June 2012 Premier Barry O’Farrell, aided by the minor parties, introduced major legislative changes to the NSW Workers Compensation System.

The then Minister For Finance and Services Mr Greg Pearce, declared that due to an alleged $4.5billion deficit the scheme was in crisis and unless immediate changes were made,NSW businesses faced being hit with premium increases of 28% along with the risk of losing 12,000 jobs.

The reforms were to be undertaken with an apparent focus on returning people to work, offering more support for seriously injured workers – ultimately aimed at improving the schemes financial sustainability.

The June 2012 reforms would be introduced in stages although all would apply retrospectively, regardless of the date of injury. There would also be a new service called the WIRO (WorkCover Independent Review Office) offering free and independent legal advice but could also make binding decisions in resolving disputes between injured workers and the insurer.

It was recently announced by Premier Barry O’Farrell and the new Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance that due to the June 2012 legislative reforms, The NSW Workers Compensation System had reached a $360million surplus as at the 30th June 2013.

NSW Businesses were consequently given a further 5% drop in their annual premiums in addition to the 7.5% reduction awarded earlier this year. The Government also reported that there has been a drop in the number of workers compensation claims along with improved return to work outcomes – ultimately boasting that NSW now has the best return to work rates in the country.

Premier O’Farrell made no mention of the fact that the scheme had apparently improved by $1.5 billion in November 2012. This would have been a strange occurrence considering many of the June 2012 reforms would not have yet impacted on the scheme’s financial viability.

Again, the Premier never mentioned the reduction in the number of claims or any improved rates of returning people to work has only been made possible by people simply being kicked out of the system via work capacity decisions. A process that ultimately ends both weekly benefits and ongoing medical expenses 12 months thereafter, regardless of any previous legal agreement.

There have been a number of instances where the WIRO has reviewed a number of work capacity decisions. Many have subsequently resulted in the WIRO giving the NSW Workcover Authority a binding recommendation to prosecute various insurers for serious breaches of the legislation.

Even with a new Minister to oversee the portfolio of Finance and Services the insurers remain unpunished and businesses have once again been rewarded. Yet, Injured workers and their families are the ones still suffering.

The alleged deficit was viewed as being the catalyst for changes to the legislation. Considering that this deficit no longer actually exists, the time has come for Premier Barry O’Farrell or Andrew Constance to explain how their reforms are actually helping injured workers and their families regain their independence.



This post has been seen 1808 times.

4 Responses to “Workcover NSW and VIC scheme Profits at the expense of much needed benefits?!”

  1. Is that guy, I-need-another-drink Greg Pearce, still around?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. No, he is having a great time spending the paybacks he got from the Insurance industries. Of course there will be no inquiry into him, afterall the Coalition always manages to avoid them. The only good news from this article as far as NSW is concerned is that O Farrell has lost his main argument for the amendments in the Goudappel case (Transitional Act was used as the reason for implementing retroactivity, meaning GIO and the Government (ADCO) argued it was needed because Workcover was in debt). I am waiting to see what their next argument will be, mmmmmm

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. punishing insurers na the people of this state should be punishing boof the lazy turd for selling us injured out to big biz and the coward calls all this reform when i see this word reform i know the turds have no idea what they are going to do to fix a problem and it will also mean selling the people out to big biz will

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Johnny, I will be out there in 2015 doing what the firefighters in Miranda did (Barry got a 27% swing against his government). They did not tell people who to vote for, they just explained their situation and advised everyone to put the Libs last. As they have taken away our legal rights and our medical rights, it seems that political action is the only thing left, if the 38,000 injured workers in this state who are being thrown off WC now and the newly injured who are being forced back to work before they have recovered let their sitting members know of their dissatisfaction then maybe things could change. We also need to let the new Finance Minister know we are demanding the review of WC now as it is back in the black.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0