Drop in premiums proof that workcover QLD changes were unnecessary

workcover-and-insurers-profits

The 20 May announcement of a drop in WorkCover QLD premiums for employers proves that the Newman Government’s changes to the QLD workers’ compensation scheme, which were rammed through Parliament last year, were unnecessary, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

Drop in premiums proof that workcover QLD changes were unnecessary

Queensland employers will pay the lowest average workcover premiums in the country from 1 July 2014, with WorkCover slashing the rate by a whopping 17 %.

The average premium rate in Queensland will fall from 1.45 per cent of payroll to 1.2 per cent for 2014-15 – lower than Victoria’s average rate of 1.298 per cent of payroll, WorkCover Queensland chair Glenn Ferguson announced yesterday.

He said the move provided a competitive advantage to Queensland business owners, and was made possible by WorkCover’s “positive” financial performance and last year’s workers’ compensation reforms… oh really?

These reforms, by the way, included narrowing the definition of “worker” (effectively reducing the number of workers who have access to the scheme), and introducing a common law threshold of 5% whole person impairment – despite a parliamentary committee advising against such reforms because they could adversely affect “vulnerable” workers.

According to Glenn Ferguson ( WorkCover Queensland’s Chairman), workcover QLD remains the “fairest in Australia”.Ferguson states that  “Queensland pays the best benefits to workers and is the only state that continues to cover all workers travelling to and from work.” And boasts about a return to work rate of 95.7 % for injured workers…Goodness!

Also see ‘ WorkCover Queensland’s financial strength supports Australia’s lowest workers’ compensation premium rate ‘ as published on the WorkCover QLD website.

Drop in premiums shows Qld govt’s WorkCover changes were unnecessary

By Australian Lawyers Alliance – 20th May 2014

Today’s (20 May) announcement of a drop in WorkCover premiums for employers proves the Newman Government’s changes to the workers’ compensation scheme, rammed through Parliament last year, were unnecessary, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

ALA Queensland President, Michelle James, said the Newman Government had tried to claim credit for the decrease in premiums, when, in reality, reductions were always possible without the Government having to slash the rights of employees.

“Today’s announcement is exactly what concerned groups like the ALA had long attempted to explain to the Newman Government, which their own committee accepted but which the Government chose to ignore,” Ms James said.

“It was repeatedly stated that not only was Queensland’s WorkCover scheme the best in Australia, but also that a reduction in premiums was possible without changes having to be rammed through, due to improvements already underway since 2010 within WorkCover.

“The Government have today fancifully sought to claim this drop in premiums as attributable to the changes they introduced; despite the fact that it’s well known any financial impacts of their changes are yet to come through.

“WorkCover’s own figures have always made clear the scheme was in excellent health with low premiums as a result of the 2010 amendments, and that this would continue without having to make any major changes to the scheme.

“WorkCover’s latest Annual Report, released late last year, showed the average common law payout was almost 15% less than WorkCover’s target amount, and that the total cost of common law claims was down more than $50 million compared with the previous year.

“The report also found WorkCover QLD has an annual profit of over $500 million, which again confirms what we said at the time – that there was ample room for the Government to adjust employer premiums without having to jeopardise people’s legal rights unnecessarily.

“Recent stakeholder actuarial briefings from the regulator also clearly show that the reduction in rights for employees has yet to impact the financial outcomes of the scheme.

“As we have always said: that this was an excellent scheme for both employers and employees that did not need to be changed.

“The Government ignored these concerns as well as the findings of its own Parliamentary Committee by announcing a raft of measures that serve only to disadvantage Queenslanders injured in unsafe workplaces.

“It is time for the Government to be upfront with Queenslanders – the only outcome their changes to WorkCover are achieving is to further hurt people doing it tough who have been injured at work. It is now time to reverse the changes made in October 2013, because they are unfair and economically unwarranted,” she said.

 

Note:

as far as we understand, the factors that contribute to a company’s premium calculation include wages paid, claims experience, and industry performance. Continued poor claim performance, through a high frequency of claims and costs, will still negatively impact the premium rate calculation.

LNP WorkCover changes at expense of injured workers

By Stand for Qld – 20 May 2014

Today’s dismantling of WorkCover shows the Newman LNP Government is handing out corporate welfare at the expense of injured workers and their rights at work.

ron-monaghan

 

Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Ron Monaghan says the changes to premiums will take compensation away from injured workers and their families.

“Taking away rights from injured workers is giving Newman the cover to deliver this $1 billion windfall to employers,” he said.

Employers will also have their claims history wiped clean while any workers’ compensation claims by employees are now openly accessible to bosses.

“This is another free kick for dodgy employers who want to shirk their responsibility to maintain safe workplaces,” Mr Monaghan said.

“This amnesty for negligent bosses must also anger those many diligent employers who have spent time and energy on ensuring workplaces comply with safety rules.”

Injured workers who are forced onto disability income face a bleak future, with the surprise federal budget cuts to disability pensions.

Mr Monaghan said the combination of reductions to WorkCover and slashing disability benefits would destroy the families of some injured workers.

“While dodgy bosses get off scott free, injured workers are left carrying the burden of the LNP’s debt to the big end of town,” he said.

“When Attorney-General Bleijie overturned the decision of a Parliamentary committee to keep WorkCover intact, he showed his priorities lie with employer groups and not with the injured workers of Queensland.”

Changes last October to WorkCover removed the rights of more than half of all injured workers to sue dodgy bosses.

Mr Monaghan predicted the LNP’s treatment of injured workers would be a campaign focus at the next state election.

[Source: http://standforqld.com.au/lnp-workcover-changes-expense-injured-workers/]

 



This post has been seen 2043 times.

5 Responses to “Drop in premiums proof that workcover QLD changes were unnecessary”

  1. Hi Queenslanders, welcome to the club. Do the LNP have international meetings with the Tea Party in the USA? Because they are all following the same lie ridden path. Newman is doing this because he perceives that O Farrell’s assault on injured workers has been a success. Learn from us Queenslanders, fight it all the way, never give up, expose them at every step and vote them out next year.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Just a note about the NSW premiums – The average premium rate in NSW was reduced from 1.55 %of payroll to 1.47 % about 6 months ago NSW’s workers’ compensation premium rates are said to remain at their current level in the next financial year, which is suggesting that it is unclear whether the WorkCover scheme’s position is actually sustainable.
      As you know last month, the State Government announced the scheme’s surplus had grown to a whopping $1.361 billion and further premium cuts were possible, but noted the improvement was driven largely by strong investment returns…
      Concrete construction employers and those conducting cleaning services for Government schools and contracts would continue to pay among the highest premiums, at an average of 11.672 % and 11.265 % of payroll respectively.

      Log sawmillers (10.301%), bricklayers (9.5%) and demolition companies (9.079%) would also continue to pay relatively high premiums.

      Click here to see the insurance premiums order and all industry classification rates.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Workcovervictim3 June 5, 2014 at 8:36 pm
  2. I think it is important to highlight that reforms to the affordability of insurance premiums do not take away the rights of those being insured (the worker). Being able to manage risk of injury to workers with a pre-exiting injury is also fair. Prior to changes in Oct last year employees did not need to disclose if they had an injury and employers were unable to manage their duties to prevent and minimise risk of injury thereby potentially placing employees at risk and pushing claims and premiums up. It also allowed users of the system to go from employer to employer making claim after claim – known by Workcover as repeat offenders – rauting the system from legitimate workers. Qld enjoys a no fault policy meaning if an employee chooses not to follow training and correct procedures and there by injures themselves the employer still has to pay. People being responsible for their decisions is a fairly civilised expectation but workcover will still cover workers regardless. This is still a very good outcome for workers. Also Qld is one of the few states where the employer is responsible for the worker before and after they finish work in an environment the employer can not manage or influence as their worker gets to and from work. Meaning if a worker is hit by a drunk driver on the way home from work its the employers fault. No where else does this happen. Ie. You do not pay public liability insurance on your home and contents for someone who you pay to fix your house hold appliances who injures themselves on the way to or from your house. It simply is not your fault. But if you were to pay and you had a bad run of luck with tradesmen having car accidents and your premium went up it would be considered unfair. Yes? Well Qld still offers this in their workers compensation along with all rights previously offered. Increased expenses forces costs to be minimised in other areas, ie. decrease wages. It is an incorrect assumption that all business makes money. Most a little more than self employed with more risk, stress, work and liability, often getting paid less than they pay their staff. To penalise all businesses who employ people because of a few BIG players that are perceived to make lots of money unfairly is like cutting your nose off to spite your face. I have been an employee and an employer and I wouldn’t own a business again for quids. It’s hard, everyone hates because they assume you must make heaps of money but you don’t, it’s stressful, you mortgage everything with no security of what the next day will bring. I personally was the victom of an unethical person who had a pre-existing injury that did something they were not asked to do, did not ask to do, did not tell anyone they did, that no one saw them do and that they did not lodge an incident report for. They were successful for a $500k payout and a $750k common law claim where it was determined that nothing we did contributed to the injury and we could not of prevented it but it apparently occurred at work so therefore we were liable. This person returned to work shortly after their claim was closed. This was at the beginning of Labours hate employers campaign. Consequently we were forced to lay off 3 excellent fulltime staff that broke my heart to see them go just to afford the premium increases or close our doors and lay off 80 workers. That or outsource our staff casually from an external agency. Protecting the rights of geniuin people from shitty employers is REALLY important. And I am glad to see these protections remain. Helping employers afford it and helping them minimise risk to the staff they value is equally important. Without employers there are no jobs. And benefits will never replace real career prospects for good honest people.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • And the other thing that concerns me with 1.4 to 1.2 comes from. We paid 6% of our payroll and others paid roughly the same. That is VERY different to the 1.4% they claim they are dropping it from. If this is the average and we were closer to 6% what is the lowest? How is this figure calculated?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • @Loren sadly we do have fraudsters that have a go at ripping off the system and we all hear about that person what we don’t hear are the back room deals that are done on our behalf to save dollars for the state and most don’t understand it or how it works i call it the Aussie with his head in the sand you know the old she’ll be right mate.
      Like most pay our taxes to be sold to the highest bidder in this case insurance companies, they have our politicians by the short and curlies and the injured have to fight for everything that they entitled to and after a period of time they are thrown on the scrap heap for the tax payer .
      The insurers are laughing all the way to the bank at our expense and most are none the wiser .Most people have no problems with the boss making a dollar but then we have some that go over the top and dont give a tinkers about WHS , these big multi nationals are tinkering with our constitution with the help of our boofheaded politicians and we are none the wiser .

      But its a new day and im gonna put me melon in the sand what about you .

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Johnny rotten May 27, 2014 at 7:45 am