NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet has announced a $1 billion workers compensation reform package in a win for injured workers, employees and business across the State.
“We are creating a fairer system. A system that is a financially sustainable now and into the future. A system that places the injured workers and businesses at the centre of decision making,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Now that we are on a financially stable footing after fixing Labor’s $4.1 billion scheme deficit, we can proceed with the next stage of reform to better support injured workers, incentivise safe workplaces and keep premiums down.”
The 2015 Worker’s Compensation reform package includes three main elements:
- A simplified system and customer experience – three new organisations to operate and regulate the State’s insurance schemes and regulate work health and safety, as recommended by various Parliamentary and independent reviews.
- Enhanced benefits for injured workers – payment of medical expenses, certain prostheses and aids for life for seriously injured workers, increased lump sum and minimum weekly payments, and new financial assistance for return to work, education and retraining;
- Premium reductions for business – 5-20 per cent discounts for maintaining safe work places and helping injured employees return to work.
“These reforms have been developed from the ground up by talking to injured workers, meeting with businesses and engaging with our stakeholders,” Mr Pderrottet said.
“They honour the Government’s election commitment to provide two thirds of every dollar, above the amount to keep the scheme sustainable, to support injured workers and one third to lower premiums for business.
“We have simplified the system for all who engage with it, enhanced benefits to better support injured workers and provided substantial discounts on premiums to drive safer workplaces. The Coalition is delivering a Worker’s Compensation system that is fair, sustainable and customer centric.”
A number of reviews have recommended separation of the regulator and provider of insurance to improve service delivery and remove conflicts of interest.
There will now be three simplified agencies overseeing the regulation and operational delivery of insurance services:
- SafeWork NSW – a new risk-based regulator for work health and safety;
- Insurance & Care NSW (icare) – a highly customer-focused organisation delivering insurance and care services; and
- State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) – a new independent regulator overseeing all State insurance schemes.