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 Compo revolt by employers

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Number of posts : 10
Registration date : 2007-06-04

PostSubject: Compo revolt by employers   Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:33 pm

Compo revolt by employers business demands cuts

From the Advertiser page 1 Adelaide Tuesday May 15, 2007




EMPLOYERS today will launch a mass campaign to pressure the State
Government to overhaul WorkCover, warning the nation's worst-performing
com­pensation scheme is damaging the state economy.

In an unprecedented attack on state Labor, Business SA is urging
more than 60,000 employers to lobby MPs until the scheme is changed to
cut costs and return more injured workers to jobs.

Warning WorkCover's unfunded liability will reach $1 billion
within six weeks, employers say a compo "culture... has built up over a
long period of time" in South Australia.

Business SA is highly critical of the State Government's decision
in March to shelve the WorkCover board's reform plans and, instead,
call for another review.
We are calling for bold legislative change to South Australia's
workers' compensation scheme, and this campaign will be ongoing until
such legislative change is effected.

Business SA chair­man Rob Chapman, also BankSA's manag­ing
director, today will release a 40-page re­port branding Work-Cover "the
worst-performing of all the states" yet "the most expensive for
businesses in the nation".

The report's rec­ommendations in­clude cutting off payments to
injured workers after 104 weeks, based on their capacity to work,
rather than continuing benefits until age 65.

"We are calling for bold legislative change to South Australia's
workers' compen­sation scheme, and this campaign will be ongoing until
such legislative change is ef­fected," Mr Chapman will say at the
launch of the report.

"We are calling for a fair compensation and rehabilitation scheme
for injured workers, that facilitates a timely return to work and is
affordable to the busi­ness community."

Other recommended changes include cut­ting compensation payments
after 13 weeks to 75 per cent of pre-injury earnings, and cutting the
maxi­mum weekly benefit from 200 per cent to 125 per cent of the
state's average weekly earnings.

These reflect the WorkCover board's recommendations to the
Government last November, which in­cluded cutting weekly payments and
capping entitlements to medi­cal expenses.

But the Government is delaying change, with Industrial Re­lations
Minister Michael Wright saying the WorkCover board's proposed "sweeping
changes" would have "major social and economic impacts on the state".

"These proposals and others, such as those by Business SA, must be
fully assessed and require extensive consultation with in­terested
parties," he told The Advertiser yesterday.

Mr Wright cited sup­port from WorkCover chairman Bruce Carter for the review, which Business SA

says means a new regime could not start before July next year.

Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith has accused Labor of "a
cynical ex­ercise to avoid the truth" by avoiding change during a
fed­eral election year.

Mr Hamilton-Smith said Labor's national senior vice-president,
Premier Mike Rann, was resisting necess­ary cuts to worker ben-efits to
avoid undermining federal Labor's industrial re­lations campaign.

He called for Mr Wright to resign im­mediately or be sacked,
saying he had "watched impass­ively" for the past five years as
WorkCover's unfunded liability climbed from $6million to nearly
"This is another dis-graceful case of gross mismanagement by a
Labor government reminiscent of their State Bank disaster of the
1990s," Mr Hamilton-Smith said. The Business SA report finds that
WorkCover has the nation's highest rate of injured workers getting
weekly payments (42per cent), AUSTRALIA'S

highest average cost per compensation claim ($12,069).

WORKERS getting the nation's highest number of days of paid compensation (64).

The nation's highest ratio of injured workers who do not

return to work in the first six months of their claim. The nation's
highest cost to busi­ness, with an average three per cent levy. The
Business SA re­port contains 14 rec­ommendations to overhaul WorkCover,
which has not had significant legislative change since 1986, de­spite
radical changes to interstate schemes.
The report says the proposed changes would "allow for a net
reduction in the amount of compensation paid" and "create, the
necessary incentive for return to work". SA Unions secretary Janet
Giles accused business of wanting to "punish workers who are injured by
denying them rightful support". "It's bad enough that workers are
injured in the first place, without compounding their grief by ripping
off their compensation and framing them as the cause of problems
instead of the victims," she said.

Business SA chief Peter Vaughan and SA Unions chief Janet Giles are WorkCover board members.

Posted by Reader at 10:57 PM, 15/5/2007
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