QLD: Bid to Improve WorkCover for Jockeys

Logo-MainThe Queensland Jockeys’ Association (QJA) is aiming to improve Work Cover for riders.

However, the QJA and Racing Queensland have different views on the changes.

Racing Queensland chairman Kevin Dixon said he wants jockeys to be adequately covered, but he questioned the motives of the QJA.

“We have no issue getting them the best deal we can,” Dixon said.

“What we do have an issue with is the way they have asked for it to be done. Our understanding is that it will not increase their benefit, but will increase our premium costs.”

QJA president Glen Prentice made a submission to State Parliament late last year, and Work Cover QLD is set to release its findings next month.

A key element of the submission is that jockeys should be deemed “workers” as opposed to “sportsmen or women”, as they are in other states. “The difference is that if a jockey is injured in a race, their other concurrent income does not become a factor in determining their weekly entitlement from Work Cover claim,” Prentice said.

Statistics show that seven Queensland jockeys earned $ 100,000 or more last season, 22 earned $ 50,000-$ 100,000 and 196 earned $ 50,000 or less.

According to the QJA, the current policy only adequately covers 10-15 of the 225 jockeys in the state. Those who earn between $ 65,000-$ 80,000 can receive $ 1300 a week from Work Cover and $ 300 a week from top-up cover.

“Anyone who gets hurt at work shouldn’t be disadvantaged,” Prentice said.

“It’s not only the ones at the minor end of the scale that are disadvantaged. Jockeys who earn over $ 100,000 per year are severely disadvantaged as well because their income drops from whatever they are earning to a maximum of $ 1600 with the top-up cover.”

In Victoria, the cover is up to $ 2000 a week, and in NSW $ 1840. Jockey numbers have decreased in Queensland from more than 400 in 2005 to 225 this year.

“A lot of the riders have commented to me that it is not worth risking their family’s income (from trackwork and other jobs) in the event they have a race fall, as the current level of Work Cover they have does not protect them enough,” Prentice said.

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