The Rann Government has recently introduced an amending Bill
which seeks to amend the WorkCover scheme in response to an
independent review of the system carried out by Alan Clayton
and supported by actuary, John Walsh.
The Clayton/Walsh review had three objectives:-
1. That the scheme provide fair support to injured workers,
delivered efficiently and enabling the earliest possible return
2. The average employer levy rate be reduced to a range of
2.25 – 2.75 by 1 July 2009; and
3. That the scheme should be fully funded at the earliest
Employer groups have embraced the outcome of the review and
enthusiastically endorsed the legislative reform package set
out in the amending Bill.
Business SA has been robust in stating that the reform
package should be implemented as soon as possible.
PROPOSED REFORM PACKAGE
The key proposals to the reform package are:-
1. Discontinuance of income maintenance at 130 weeks post
injury for partially incapacitated workers who are not working
to their maximum capacity in suitable employment;
2. A reduction in the amount of income maintenance being
paid to 80% of Average Weekly Earnings at the end of the first
13 weeks of incapacity for work.
The above proposals form the basis upon which sections of
the business community have given its unqualified support to
the amending Bill. In doing so, the business community has
supported not only the key proposals but other related
The "other" reform proposals require careful
Among the changes that all employers should be aware of
The requirement for an employer employing more than 30
permanent full time employees to appoint a rehabilitation and
return to work coordinator.
That weekly payments and medical expenses be paid to
workers upon lodgement of a claim. (Recovery of compensation
paid will only be available where the Compensating Authority
can demonstrate dishonesty.)
Limited application for redemption of entitlements.
Section 58B amendment that will require an employer to
pay an appropriate wage or salary for workers on return to
work plans performing alternative or modified duties that
would normally fall outside of the workers contract of
Wide ranging amendments to the lump sum compensation
Changes to the dispute resolution system that effectively
represents a reintroduction of the old "Review
The introduction of medical panels to determine questions
that would normally be determined by the Workers Compensation
The reform package includes a myriad of changes to the
current scheme that have the potential for unintended
consequences. Not only is there potential for injured workers
to be worse off as a result of the cutting of benefits,
employers too may be significantly prejudiced by the proposed
changes. These potential problems for employers may not be
offset by the expected moderation in average levy payments.
For a more detailed exposition of the amending Bill and the
proposed legislative changes, please click on the link below to
read in full John Walsh's article "Be Careful What
You Wish For"
The content of this article is intended to provide a
general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should
be sought about your specific circumstances.
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