The Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce today announced the Implementation Plan for the Government’s new Worker’s Compensation reforms.
Mr Pearce said the reforms, passed by Parliament in June, will proceed in several stages to allow an orderly rollout of new systems and claims procedures by insurers.
“Workers injured after 1 October 2012 will receive improved benefits under the new legislation while all other injured workers will be transitioned to the new scheme from 1 January 2013,” he said.
“Additionally, all seriously injured workers will receive their increased benefits under the new legislation from 17 September.
“Employers and the economy have already benefited from no increase in premiums, which were forecast to be as high as 28 per cent if these reforms did not go ahead.
“Under the new legislation employers are subject to strict new requirements to assist their injured workers to return to work,” he said.
Mr Pearce said guidelines to the WorkCover reforms will be published next month.
“The Government is committed to improving WorkCover’s capability to get workers back on the job sooner and inform employers of their new obligations,” he said.
“A WorkCover Independent Review Officer program will start from 1 October 2012 to provide a simple, fair and cost-effective process for reviewing work capacity decisions made by insurers.
“A legal reference group has also been set up to provide advice on the establishment of a new dispute resolution model announced under the reforms,” Mr Pearce said.
The Government has appointed a high level and experienced Safety, Return to Work and Support Board to be chaired by Michael Carapiet.
A selection process is currently underway with the Public Service Commissioner to select a new CEO for WorkCover to guide the transition and reform process.