Workers compensation scheme reforms have stopped NSW employers being faced with a 28 percent increase in their insurance premiums, WorkCover Advisory Board chairman Michael Carapiet said in a 28 June statement.
Carapiet said the WorkCover Board had met during the week and decided the target premium collection rate will remain at 1.68 percent.
“This scheme has a deficit of more than $4 billion and needed to improve the support and services for injured workers it was set up to care for and protect,” he said. “The NSW Government has acted by gazetting a regulation ensuring that the existing premium rates will stay the same.
“This means that employers who have not had major change in their business, for example growth in wages or expansion into new industries or poor claims experience, will not experience an increase in their worker’s compensation premiums from 1 July 2012.
“WorkCover reforms enacted by Parliament mean increases to premiums are no longer necessary and can remain at their current level. Had these reforms not happened, employers were facing premium hikes of 28 percent, which according to figures previously released by the NSW Business Chamber, had the potential to see the loss of more than 12,000 jobs.
“Existing premiums paid by NSW employers are already between 20 and 60 percent higher than in Victoria and Queensland – and any further increase would have had an adverse impact on the economy.
“We can now get on with the job of rehabilitating injured workers and, where possible, getting them back to work.” Carapiet stated.
Up until the reforms were passed, Carapiet said seriously injured workers were receiving payments barely above the poverty line but the changes mean workers will now be eligible for higher benefits.
“For example, the most severely injured workers receiving weekly payments of $432.50 will now receive a new rate of $725 a week,” he said. “The NSW Government introduced the Workers Compensation Legislation Bill on June 19 2012 and on June 22 the Parliament passed laws that made key changes to the scheme.
“Some of these changes have already begun while others will come into effect gradually over the next 12 to 18 months,” Carapiet said.
For further information on the reforms visit www.workcover.nsw.gov.au