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 WorkCover board advice rejected

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Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2007-09-18

PostSubject: WorkCover board advice rejected   Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:28 pm

Article from: The Advertiser

March 29, 2007 02:00pm

WORKCOVER'S board has recommended cuts to benefits for workers to rein in a huge unfunded liability which could reach $1 billion within two years - but the Government has refused to act on the board's recommendations.

Instead, the Government decided to hold another review of the worker's compensation scheme in South Australia.

The shock decision resulted in the Opposition saying Industrial Relations Minister Michael Wright should be sacked and moving a no-confidence motion in him with a rowdy debate dominating today's afternoon sitting of Parliament.

Mr Wright had earlier told a press conference the review of WorkCover was needed after 20 years of operation and would be carried out by two experts in workers' compensation schemes - Alan Clayton and John Walsh.

Mr Wright said any changes to the scheme would be directed towards:

INJURED workers receiving fair financial and other support to enable the earliest possible return to work.

AVERAGE employer levy rates should be reduced from 3 per cent and contained within a range of 2.25 per cent to 2.75 per cent by July 1, 2009.

THE scheme should be fully funded by the earlier possible date.

"We believe it is possible to achieve these objectives," Mr Wright said.

However, the WorkCover board chaired by Bruce Carter, sent a report to the Government in November last year calling for major changes to the way the scheme operated including cuts to workers' entitlements such as reducing weekly income maintenance payments, capping entitlements to medical expenses, limiting solicitors' capacity to charge injured workers and ceasing maintenance until disputes were resolved with any arrears or interest paid to the worker where the dispute was resolved in favour of the worker.

The board also wanted business to pay their levy in advance and for the 7.5 per cent levy cap to be raised to 15 per cent to limit the cross subsidisation of higher risk injuries by lower risk injuries.

Mr Wright said the board's recommendations were "very broad and sweeping in nature".

Treasurer Kevin Foley also ruled out any Government injection of capital to help strengthen the corporation's financial situation.

He said the corporation was not in financial difficulty - it was just the unfunded liabilities which needed to be brought under control.

Mr Foley denied the Government was deferring the hard decisions for another 12 months by having the review of the board's recommendations.

Opposition Leader Iain Evans said Mr Wright should be sacked because he had been in charge of WorkCover for more the past five years and had achieved nothing.

"There are billion reasons for this - the unfunded liability," Mr Evans said. "His fingerprints are all over it."

Mr Evans said the Opposition was sick of Mr Wright bluffing SA about WorkCover and the decision to have another review of the corporation was "a slap in the face for Bruce Carter and the WorkCover board".
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Gareth Daniels

Number of posts : 8
Registration date : 2007-09-13

PostSubject: Big wigs dont cry   Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:30 pm

I really feel for those injured workers waiting for the powers that be to make decisions on their life. Its traumatic enough to be injured at work, then getting dragged through the mud in an effort to be compensated. Why dont we hear more from those injured about what they need, and stop trying to ignore their pain. Heaven help any of the big wigs that get hurt at work - I bet then there would be no talk of this nonsense and more help for the injured!
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Number of posts : 7
Registration date : 2007-06-04

PostSubject: Cut off their wages to make them vulnerable   Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:31 pm

Currently the act preserves the rights of the injured worker to ensure Maintenance is paid if there is a dispute. I note a proposal of the board recommending "ceasing maintenance until disputes were resolved with any arrears or interest paid to the worker where the dispute was resolved in favour of the worker." Please tell me Mr. Carter how injured workers and their families are supposed to put food on the table if they are not receiving any income maintenance until their disputes are resolved? How would you guarantee that Workcover would not engage injured workers in extensive litigation simply to cut off their income and to put them and their families in a vulnerable financial position?
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Number of posts : 8
Registration date : 2007-06-06

PostSubject: Workcover self serving   Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:36 pm

Workcovers reccomendations seem to be totally self serving. Perhaps they might wish to look at their management of cases, or even their bureaucracy. I suggest an independent agency with teeth, to review and audit the case management and processes by all stakeholders involved in worker rehabilitation and treatment. This agency could intervene, and penalise incompetence and inappropriate use whilse ensuring that appropriate interventions occur in a timely and cost effective manner. Incompetence and vested interests are often seen as the main barrier to successful return to work. Talk to injured workers, and you will find a litany of incompetence, and unqualified/poorly qualified people in the chain of case management, with disaster being the norm rather than the exception.
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