WorkCover SA overhaul to target rorters and give workers the right to sue bosses


According to Yahoo 7 News,  South Australian injured workers will -thankfully- again be able to sue their employers for negligence, …. while those falsely claiming benefits will be targetted, under a long-awaited plan to overhaul  WorkCover SA scheme. Again, note the stigmatisation of injured workers as “all fraudsters” and “system-milkers” …  indeed the result of countless derogatory comments about them in the media and by politicians.

WorkCover SA overhaul to target rorters and give workers the right to sue bosses

Injured workers will again be able to sue their employers for negligence, while those falsely claiming benefits will be targetted, under a long-awaited plan to overhaul South Australia’s WorkCover scheme.

The State Government has announced reforms it says will save businesses $180 million a year, including a legal distinction between ‘seriously injured’ and ‘less-seriously injured’ workers.

Those falling into the latter category will be removed from the scheme after two years, while compensation payments will increase for the more badly injured.

Attorney-General John Rau says a $1.4 billion unfunded liability would drop to about $100 million.

Mr Rau says the scheme is currently more like a pension with too many workers benefitting for too long, and has encouraged some “to entrench their illness behaviour.” –> WTF

“People are rewarded by being sick, not being rewarded by getting better,” he said.

“For those people who are not the profoundly disabled people … at the end of a maximum of two year period, income maintenance ends.

“I’m not suggesting that all of the people who have been on WorkCover for more than two years have been rorting the system –> what did Mr Rau just say?

“The system makes people sick.”

The changes, which will have to go before Parliament after the election, would give injured workers expanded legal rights and allow them to sue.

“If an employer is negligent and as a result of that negligence there employee is injured, that employee would have a right to seek damages for that injury,” Mr Rau said.

The move follows several failed efforts to fix the troubled scheme and the Government says, if re-elected, it will consult on the details as it drafts the legislation.

Opposition welcomes changes, but says they are 12 years late

Lawyer Steven Dolphin says the reforms aim to balance the interests of workers and employers.

“Certainly in my experience there have been many injured workers who have sustained their injuries through negligence at work,” he said.

“As the Act currently stands, they are not able to recoup compensation for that negligence. Reintroducing the right to sue for negligence is to be welcomed.”

But Mr Dolphin says he wants to see more detail of the scheme before fully committing to support it.

“I understand there will be a seriously injury definition … the question then will be what is the relevant threshold?”

The State Opposition has previously announced its own WorkCover review.

Opposition frontbencher Iain Evans welcomed the reforms but said the Government should already have introduced them.

“After 12 years of mismanagement, they now say they can save $180 million of premiums for business, $180 million a year,” he said.

“Over a 12-year period, this scheme has slugged the South Australian business community $2.2 billion that it didn’t need to.

“Why weren’t these reforms brought in in one of the five, six or seven attempts they had previously to fix what is the worst workers compensation scheme in Australia?”

The scheme covers about 430,000 employees in 50,000 businesses.


5 Responses to “WorkCover SA overhaul to target rorters and give workers the right to sue bosses”

  1. SA Premier unveils new WorkCover scheme

    The South Australian government has proposed a new WorkCover scheme where less seriously injured workers will be taken off income payments after two years.

    The government also plans to re-introduce access to common law, meaning workers will be able to sue negligent employers and seek damages for their injuries.

    Announcing the new policy on Friday, Premier Jay Weatherill and Attorney-General John Rau said the scheme would save businesses about $180 million a year and wipe out most of the scheme’s $1.4 billion unfunded liability.

    Seriously injured workers, such as those with quadriplegia, blindness or significant burns, would receive full income maintenance benefits to retirement and life-time care and support, the premier said.

    But those less seriously injured would have their income payments capped at two years and the system would focus on their recovery, re-training and return to work.

    If the government was re-elected on March 15, Mr Rau said the scheme could be running by the middle of 2015.

    The Attorney-General said the present scheme was entrenching behaviour and compounding attitudinal problems “because people are being rewarded for being sick, not being rewarded for getting better”.

    People who were not profoundly disabled would be off the scheme at the end of two years, although it might be earlier if they improve, are retrained or go back to work, he added.

    SA businesses currently paid a 2.75 per cent levy which was the highest of all the states, but the changes would result in an average premium rate of between 1.5 and 2 per cent.

    Opposition treasury spokesman Iain Evan said if the Liberals win the election the government would be happy to consider the merits of the proposals.

    But he said the ALP had 12 years to bring in the reforms which would have saved businesses $2.2 billion in premiums.

    workcovervictim3 January 26, 2014 at 9:26 am
  2. i must admit that bunny make’s a real lot of sense and a lot of others that have posted I’ve have learnt a lot from you lot here something the insurers are supposed to do and the best part is they can write about all the bullshit they want to about malingers and fraudsters but we know who the reals one’s are malingerers day i wonder if allianz will inform me of the day that it takes place

  3. Given the rampant stigmatisation of injured workers as “all fraudsters” and “system-milkers” … the result of countless derogatory comments about us -injured sods- in the media and by politicians (and yes, Bunny, more so around election time), they should set up an official “Malingerers Day” in this country!

    workcovervictim3 January 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm
  4. Bunny its australia day tomorrow no need to sharpen the guillotine up its much easier to stick you head in the sand.

  5. Why do state governments AND opposition parties always go on about ‘rorters’ and never give any research or evidence for this occurring???? As the rate in NSW for fraud is about 0.01% (and would be similar in other states), its impact is negligible and yet this derogatory position is used to demonize all injured workers all the time. Frankly I am fed up with it and now I constantly attack the real rorters – tax avoiding big businesses and rich people who don’t pay their fair share, they are the real criminals. If injured workers cannot get work because employers wont employ them, whose fault is that? Who in their right mind would consider the paltry benefits that injured workers receive a lifestyle to aspire to? The only good part of this review is the restoration of the right of workers to sue their employers, a common law right that should never have been taken away in the first place. But as South Australia is facing an election soon, dont expect that this will ever happen – never forget what O Farrell did in NSW. How about a reality check for all political parties – 1. The rate of fraud in Workers Comp is far less than the rate of fraud committed by big business. 2. Throwing injured workers off WC after 2 years will not cure them and will make some much worse. 3. As long as employers can openly and discreetly discriminate against injured workers, nothing will change. 4. As long as private companies (insurance) is involved in WC, there will be injustice for injured workers as they are motivated by making a profit and nothing more. 5. Injured workers vote as do their families and this kind of demonization has also spread to welfare recipients, that is a hell of a lot of people. I will now go and sharpen my guillotine (if my injury lets me) as this seems to be the future politicians want us to have.