Queensland Law Society

Workers’ comp threshold would open door to chaos

Date 25 Sep 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 calls to impose a threshold on access to common law rights for workplace injuries would throw the current system into chaos.

President Annette Bradfield said the current system was the nation’s best  in terms of financial stability,  low average premiums, decreasing common law claims rates and payments, and its ability to turn a profit and meet its liabilities.

“There have been calls for the government to introduce Whole Person Impairment thresholds in order for injured workers to pursue common law claims,” Ms Bradfield said.

“Impairment thresholds are arbitrary, unfair and utterly disregard the particular personal circumstances of an injured person.

“Some of the worst performing workers’ compensation schemes in the country have imposed thresholds for access to common law claims or have completely removed these entitlements.

“The South Australian and New South Wales schemes illustrate the false economy of denying injured workers the right to pursue common law claims.

“The result is financial instability and uncertainty, and Queensland could move from exemplifying best practice to living a worst case scenario.

“This would include higher costs for business as employees refuse to stop working and instead make their condition worse, higher costs to government with more people on social benefits and higher community costs with reduced productivity as the majority of people no longer have ready access to rehabilitation to help them get back to work.

“We urge the government to resist changes to the scheme for short-term benefit which ultimately would see Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme follow other states’ schemes in a descent into financial ruin.

“We need to support the fundamental structure of the scheme which has delivered, and continues to deliver, strong and stable workers’ compensation coverage.”