Queensland Law Society

Govt’s blunt instrument injures workers’ comp scheme

Date 15 Oct 2013
Contact Natalie Graeff, Manager Corporate Communication
Phone 07 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society said today rushed changes to workers’ compensation laws will seriously damage the health of the state’s scheme.

President Annette Bradfield said as of today more than 50% of people who are injured at work cannot sue their employer for negligence.

“The changes deprive injured Queenslanders of basic rights to compensation for injuries occurring at work from today.

“The government has introduced a 5% impairment threshold for common law claims.

“As you can imagine, it’s expected this will increase disputes regarding the level of impairment, which in turn will increase premiums for employers,” Ms Bradfield said.

“We have voiced our opposition to the introduction of a threshold since the review of the scheme commenced in 2012 and are deeply disappointed at the government’s decision.

“Queensland has long been known to have a nation-leading scheme with a 3.1% dispute rate, 98% return to work rate and low premiums, second only to Victoria.

“WorkCover’s 2012-13 annual report, tabled yesterday after Cabinet decided on the changes, showed a profit of just over half a billion dollars.

“However, major changes to our workers’ compensation scheme, which will have significant impacts on these outcomes, are being rushed through parliament without public consultation.

“Considering the outstanding financial results of our scheme for employers and employees, this is not an urgent issue, so why the rush?

“By the end of the week parliament will pass this law, downgrading us from the best in the nation to a second rate scheme.”