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November communiqué

The SIRA Board (Board) held its regular monthly meeting on Friday, 27 November 2020 and indeed its last meeting for 2020.  Members joined in person at the new SIRA office, 231 Elizabeth Street, and virtually as New Ways of Working continue to evolve in SIRA.

The Board was delighted to note Prof Abby Bloom and Mr Rod Stowe PSM have been reappointed to the Board and Dr Graeme Innes AM has been reappointed to the SIRA Audit and Risk Committee (ARC).

Prof Abby Bloom, Chair of the ARC provided an update on the November ARC meeting and Ms Nancy Milne OAM, Chair of the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Premium Committee provided an update on her recent meeting. She commented that the members of the Premium Committee are enthusiastic and processing a large volume of quite complicated material. Later in the meeting the Board considered a report on the Transitional Excess Profit and Loss Assessment for the 2018 Accident Period.

The Board received an update on SIRA input into the McDougall Review of the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015. The Board acknowledged SIRA’s comprehensive submission to the review.

Board members received an update on SIRA’s appearance at a hearing of the Legislative Council Select Committee inquiry into the impact of technological and other change on the future of work and workers in New South Wales, at which Ms Carmel Donnelly, Mr Darren Parker and Dr Petrina Casey were witnesses.

They also received an update on SIRA’s involvement in Reviews by the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice, noting that the Committee is continuing the 2020 Review of the Workers Compensation Scheme, and has requested additional information from SIRA for the 2020 Review of the CTP insurance scheme.

During the year a SIRA team has been working on a comprehensive Healthcare review. The Board was advised that SIRA is planning to publish a document shortly outlining findings and planned actions for 2021.

The Board was presented with a regular report on the CTP Scheme Performance and two deep dives into aspects of the scheme which is continuing to operate very satisfactorily.

Board members discussed the proposed cost-sharing mechanism for COVID-19 workers compensation claims noting there is a strong public interest case for all insurers and employers in NSW to contribute to the cost of COVID-19 workers compensation claims.  Board members look forward to hearing the feedback from the consultation.

The Board also considered a report dealing with a Recovery at Work Measurement Framework and noted that SIRA plans to test a range of measures outlined in the framework, including through some further targeted consultation. The Board is keen to see not only an improvement in return to work outcomes but also improvement in the monitoring of return to work.

Board members noted the consultation period for the Legal Support Review has been extended to 2 December 2020 due to high stakeholder interest.  Board members are looking forward to hearing the consultation feedback regarding the legal supports available in the CTP insurance scheme.

Towards the end of the meeting, the Board was pleased to be joined by Ms Em Hogan, Department of Customer Service Secretary, who thanked the Board and executive for all their hard work during a very challenging year.

I too would like to thank Carmel Donnelly, SIRA Chief Executive and her team and my fellow Board members for their efforts throughout an exceptional year where I believe despite the adversities SIRA has made significant progress.

I hope you can all take some well-deserved time out over the festive period (even if you cannot go away!) so you can relax and then come back refreshed for the New Year. On behalf of the Board, I wish you and your family all the best for the festive season.

Trevor Matthews

SIRA Board Chair