Brokers in Queensland will next month discover if state Government will amend the Queensland workers’ compensation scheme – possibly bringing it into line with the revised NSW Workcover programme.
The Queensland finance and administration committee is due to publish a report on the state scheme on 28 May, having launched an inquiry in June last year.
The committee will report on how the scheme compares to other ones; its current and future financial position and its impact on the Queensland economy.
It received more than 200 submissions, some of which stressed concerns that the committee will recommend unnecessary reform.
Brisbane-based Bennett & Philip Lawyers, noted that the number of claims reduced by 9.6% in the 2010/2011 financial year. It also stated the average cost of common law claims had decreased; that Queensland had competitively low premiums for its scheme and that the 2010 reforms were on going, therefore it would be best to wait until the full effects of those reforms were visible before making any more.
“There appears to be little reason to meddle with a system which is largely recognised as having the gold standard for workers’ compensation scheme with its combination of a short tail statutory scheme and common law benefits behind it,” the law firm added.
Wesfarmers’ senior insurance advisor for specialty classes, Jo Robinson-Smith added: “Comparing the Queensland model for statutory scheme account management to other national schemes, Queensland is by far the best. We would be hesitant to support any structural change to the current service delivery area.”
However, other respondents suggested the scheme suggested reforms that are similar to NSW workers’ compensation.
Queensland Rail suggested workers’ compensation should not include journey claims between the workers’ home and place of employment – much like the NSW reform.
It stated that currently “employers have no control over the risks that workers are exposed to in regard to these claims”.
But it added: “The Kennedy Inquiry in 1996 recommended the change but the recommendations were not implemented.”