QLD: Government Reviews Workers’ Compensation Scheme

The Queensland government is reviewing the state workers’ compensation scheme, WorkCover.

The Government last week heard from self-insured companies, legal groups, employers and insurance firms at Parliament House in Brisbane.

Employers are concerned the state’s current scheme allows staff to get away with fraudulent or inappropriate claims.

Chris Hay, from Colonial Timber Products, argued there wasn’t enough being done to prove injuries or determine the impacts of pre-existing injuries.

“The fact that the employee has been shovelling gravel for the past 20 years with another employer doesn’t seem to be taken into account,” Mr Hay told the finance and administration committee hearing.

New Haven Funerals director Tim Connolly said his insurance premiums jumped about $ 30,000 in two years because a worker suffered an injury in a car accident caused by another driver and claimed for it.

“I have trouble understanding why we have been forced to pay an increased premium to a monopolised insurance provider because an accident caused by another party,” he said.

Employers also argued there wasn’t enough being done to disprove fraudulent claims and employees were abusing “no win, no fee” promises from legal firms.

Rosenlund Contractors managing director Neil Rosenlund said he had fought a fraudulent claim and won, but was significantly more out of pocket from legal fees than if he hadn’t fought the claim.

However, unions have argued there is nothing wrong with the current scheme.

The Queensland Council of Unions said it was worried changes could result in smaller payouts, or an injury threshold test that would determine if a worker could sue their employer.

Other issues raised included whether insurance providers should be allowed to compete with WorkCover and whether employees should be able to claim for injuries that occur while travelling to and from work.

Requirements allowing large companies to become self-insured were also discussed.

Hearings will resume on Friday.

OHS News

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