Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, said that the changes would deliver the most coverage for workers and the lowest premiums for employers, of all the states.
“Our scheme will put the focus back on injury management, rehabilitation and return to work outcomes for injured workers and a competitive premium for employers,” Mr Bleijie said.
“We want workers to be covered, even when they are travelling to and from work so journey claims will be retained,” he said.
“Queensland will be the only State to provide this type of coverage.
“We are also taking measures to protect businesses from outlandish claims and skyrocketing premiums.
“Access to common law claims will remain in Queensland, except for those with a medically assessed injury of 5 per cent or less.
“Every injured worker will continue to be covered under the statutory no fault compensation system which includes payment for lost wages, medical treatment and access to lump sum compensation.
“We want to help injured workers get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
“Since 2009, the average premium rate has increased by twenty per cent with Queensland quickly slipping back in the pack.
“In 2010, the board of WorkCover Queensland under former Chairman Ian Brusasco recommended that the previous Government introduce a 10-15% threshold on common law claims.
“While other states have thresholds as high as 30% (see table).
“Over the past few months, I have listened carefully to all sides on this issue from unions, lawyers and business owners.
“Under these changes, we believe we’ve got the balance right.
“With the exception of the ACT, Queensland will have the lowest threshold to access common law damages in Australia.
“Having a competitive premium will encourage more investment into our State which means more jobs for Queenslanders while maintaining a viable system well into the future protecting those most in need.
Amendments in the legislation will include:
- cracking down on fraudulent claims
- allowing employers to have access to the claims history of applicants
- merging the regulatory functions of Q-COMP into the Department.
Current Workers Compensation Schemes in Australia:
|Jurisdiction||Threshold to Access Common Law|
|New South Wales||15% Whole Person Impairment (WPI)|
|Australian Capital Territory||no threshold|
|South Australia||no common law|
|Northern Territory||no common law|
|Victoria||30% WPI (can combine physical and psych) or narrative test|
|Western Australia||not less than 15% WPI (limited damages) and not less than 25% WPI (unlimited damages)|