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June communiqué

The SIRA Board held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday 23 June 2020 via Skype.

The Board was pleased to note SIRA’s progress in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic including adaptation of services and scheme arrangements and the implementation of amendments to the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

As COVID-19 restrictions are easing across NSW and businesses resume their operations, SIRA is providing a free Recovery Advisory Service to help small businesses transition back to work  and manage their workers compensation obligations.

The SIRA Board noted the changes introduced by SIRA to the Workers Compensation Market Practice and Premium Guidelines to minimise the impact of JobKeeper payments on workers compensation premiums and commended management for their ongoing work in this space.

The Board noted the commencement on 26 June of amended workers compensation Standards of Practice including a new Standard on the management of claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are designed to support workers through their recovery and return to work through reducing barriers and setting clear expectations regarding insurer decision-making.

The SIRA Board received an update on SIRA’s access to the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency registration database, this allows SIRA to confirm health practitioners to have the appropriate professional qualifications and registrations to deliver treatment and services in the schemes.

We received a comprehensive Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme update, one of the highlights of which was the identification of a $6 reduction in the average all vehicles premium for May 2020 compared to a year ago, ($488 versus $494 as at May 2019). The scheme continues to perform well. Members of the Board were interested in a “Deep Dive” which covered Injury Profiling. In addition, the Board was advised that despite a short-term reduction in traffic volumes at the outset of the pandemic there is not sufficient evidence to warrant alteration of the premium parameters at this stage.

The SIRA Board was updated on a SIRA Customer Experience Survey which will invite 1,500 claimants to focus on their experiences claiming benefits, their treatment and recovery under both workers compensation and CTP insurance schemes.

In the context of the Prime Minister’s statement on the risk of sophisticated cyber-attacks, the Chief Executive updated the Board on risk management arrangements for public sector agencies and noted that a further update on SIRA cyber security risk management would be provided at the next meeting of the SIRA Audit and Risk Committee.

The Board received an update on the second SIRA Digital Town Hall and YamJam for employees and noted that SIRA management has conducted its first Survey using a new tool – including a check-in with how staff are feeling during COVID-19 so that management can take appropriate and swift action in response, and the results and feedback have been positive. The Board commended SIRA management for the efforts to protect employee well-being, engagement and productivity during the pandemic.

Trevor Matthews

SIRA Board Chair