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June communique

The Board was pleased to note the substantial progress on preparation and consultation ahead of the commencement of the new Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme by 1 December 2017. The update provided to the Board included advice on the data and digital strategy initiatives for reform of the CTP Scheme, both from the perspective of improving the customer experience in interacting with the Scheme, and continuous improvement of SIRA’s capability to monitor, supervise and drive scheme performance.

Board Members were also briefed on work and consultation underway on developing premium elements under the new Scheme. A milestone in CTP reforms will be reached over forthcoming weeks with the scheduled ‘go-live’ of the premium component of the Scheme.

The Chief Executive Officer of icare, along with senior executive advisors, presented to the SIRA Board on the December 2016 valuation of the liabilities of the workers compensation Nominal Insurer scheme managed by icare.

The Board again received an update on implementation of SIRA’s strategy relating to Section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 – facilitating benefit pathways, support programs and return to work assistance for those claimants transitioning off weekly benefits in certain circumstances after five years. Insurer information sessions on the section 39 transition have been continuing, with additional sessions held in the week of 19 June to fulfil the demand for the sessions. Insurers have been provided with up-to-date information on current activities and new initiatives, including the section 39 information and support services, and section 53 community connect program, giving insurers the opportunity to hear directly from guest presenters from the Workers Compensation Commission, HSNet and Ability Links.

Board Members were also advised that SIRA had recently published updated information about section 39 on its website to assist workers and stakeholders to understand the impact of the legislation and the way it applies to them. Stakeholders have been informed of the update via a SIRA bulletin on 1 June 2017, together with communication which directs insurers to the information on the website when communicating about section 39. The Workers Compensation Commission will also refer to this information in their next ‘E Bulletin’.

SIRA is consulting with self-insurers in the final phase ahead of the anticipated publishing of the Workers Compensation Self-insurance licensing framework by 1 July. The Board was advised that SIRA will consult with the NSW Self-Insurer Association during the implementation transitional period to 31 December 2017 as self-insurers are building capability to meet the new licence conditions.

Other issues considered at the June 2017 Board meeting included:

  • Quarterly statistics released by SIRA Dispute Resolution Services. Board Members were provided with an update on operational performance of the Services, and briefed on significant trends and strategic issues for consideration.
  • Members were provided with a progress update on Government reform of the Home Building Compensation Scheme and were pleased to be informed at the end of the meeting that the Act reforming the scheme had been passed by the NSW Upper House that day.
  • Further to discussion at the May meeting of the Board, Members were advised that work is underway to plan for the launch by August 2017 of the updated Small Business Strategy for work, health and safety and workers compensation.

An update on People and Culture programs in SIRA:

  • The annual Better Regulation Division and SIRA Staff Awards were presented at a Ceremony at NSW Parliament House in Sydney on 7 June 2017. Staff were delighted to hear from the Hon. Minister Kean MP, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, and I had the privilege also of speaking at the ceremony on behalf of the Board. Staff from the Dispute Resolution Services division were finalists in the ‘Commitment to Wellness and Safety Award’. I was mightily impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the people in the room. This augurs well for the future.
  • The 2017 NSW People Matter Employee Survey went live on 2 June 2017, with staff encouraged to ‘have their say’ by 30 June 2017.

Trevor Matthews

Chairperson, SIRA Board