WorkCover in New South Wales is set to receive a major state government overhaul in hopes of curbing the $4 billion WorkCover deficit.
The state already offers compensation premiums four to five times higher than that of Victoria, which has been viewed as a key issue blocking economic growth in the state.
Stephen Cartwright of the NSW Business Chamber has welcomed the changes, calling it a way for the state to further develop plans and budgets that stay within their means.
“It’s in the interests of employers and employees to have a workers compensation scheme that is fair and financially sustainable and comparable with those in surrounding states,” says Cartwright. “We don’t have that with the current scheme.”
However, the opposition has lashed out at the state government, with NSW opposition leader John Robertson labeling the move to cut excessive compensation benefits as unsupportive and badly communicated.
“This is a scheme that provides an important safety net to everybody who works in NSW,” says Robertson. “A scheme that delivers benefits, and a scheme that makes sure that if you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a work place accident and you can’t work because of that accident that your family doesn’t suffer as a result.”
He then goes on to question the necessity of the changes, though many have cited the $4 billion deficit as reason enough to bring them about.
“Barry O’Farrell needs to explain firstly why this change is necessary, and he needs to guarantee that,” says Robertson.
While the opposition are questioning the validity of the reform, opposition and business in the state are standing by the fact that the reason is simple economics.
As it stands, the current WorkCover is simply not sustainable.