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WorkCover reforms good for both employees and business

26 October, 2007

"The WorkCover premium cuts and reforms announced by Premier Morris Iemma will deliver a welcome reduction in business costs in NSW," Australian Industry Group NSW Director Mark Goodsell has said.

“The WorkCover result reflects good management and the strength of the market and the Government is to be congratulated for delivering such a strong performance which has enabled it to proceed with major reforms while cutting costs for business.

“The scheme’s return to financial stability allowing it to deliver lower premiums and increased benefits was also greatly assisted by the dramatic improvement in the time it takes injured workers to return to work.

“Included in the announced reforms is an increase in benefits for seriously injured workers, which has the support of Ai Group.

“Rationalising the benefits for economic loss and pain and suffering should make the scheme more efficient.

“The challenge for the fund now is to work on getting the long tail of old claims back to work, bearing in mind the potential impact on return to work rates of lump sum payments being increased and commutations being reintroduced, even in a limited way.  Commutations allow workers to get lump sum payments in lieu of ongoing weekly benefits, and in the past they have lead to cost blowouts and workers staying off work longer in anticipation of having their claim ‘bought out’,” Goodsell said.

This announcement is evidence that NSW is starting to deliver on its promise to be Open for Business.  The stalled reforms to the OHS Act must also be proceeded with, for the Government to complete the job in this important area of regulation.

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