South Australian proposed WorkCover legislation

By: Chris Smith


South Australian Industrial Relations Minister Michael Wright has introduce to State Parliament changes to the Government’s proposed WorkCover legislation. Wright

South Australian Industrial Relations Minister Michael Wright has introduce to State Parliament changes to the Government’s proposed WorkCover legislation.

Wright says the Government is committed to fixing WorkCover so that the scheme is fully funded, fair to workers and affordable to business.

"Last month, the Premier told Parliament that the Government was open to reasonable proposals to improve the legislation, provided they didn’t detract from the objectives of the Clayton Review and the intent of the legislation," he says.

"I am pleased to say the Government has stood by that promise. We have listened to the unions and the business community and we have taken their views into consideration.

"In addition, the author of the independent WorkCover Review, Mr Alan Clayton, has met with interested employer and employee groups and heard their suggestions to improve the legislation.

"Changes to the WorkCover scheme are aimed specifically at improving the rehabilitation and return to work rates of injured workers and making the scheme more affordable and efficient.

"Today the Government is introducing a series of amendments that will allow us to better achieve those objectives and ensure the scheme becomes fully funded."

The improvements include:
  • Reducing weekly payments to 90 per cent (instead of 80 per cent as recommended in the Clayton Review) of pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) after 13 weeks.
  • The weekly payments will be adjusted to 80 per cent of PIAWE only after 26 weeks.
  • Allocating $15 million to a return to work fund, to fund initiatives helping retraining, rehabilitation and return to work programs and initiatives.
  • Enabling the WorkCover Ombudsman to review a decision to cease weekly payments during a dispute where the decision is unreasonable.
  • Streamlining the Workers Compensation Tribunal by removing the arbitration process.
  • Retaining the 7.5 per cent levy cap instead of the proposed 15 per cent.
  • Increasing the WorkCover Ombudsman’s powers to ensure that employers meet their obligation to provide suitable employment for injured workers. (This will be further strengthened by a new penalty of up to $25,000 for any breaches).
  • Not proceeding with the proposal to provide lump sum payments for psychiatric disability.



Summary of Proposed WorkCover Amendments:

  • Reducing weekly payments to 90 per cent (instead of 80 per cent as recommended in the Clayton Review) of pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) after 13 weeks.
  • The weekly payments will be adjusted to 80 per cent of PIAWE only after 26 weeks.
  • Allocating $15 million to a return to work fund, to fund initiatives helping retraining, rehabilitation and return to work programs and initiatives.
  • Enabling the WorkCover Ombudsman to review a decision to cease weekly payments during a dispute where the decision is unreasonable.
  • Streamlining the Workers Compensation Tribunal by removing the arbitration process.
  • Retaining the 7.5 percent levy cap instead of the proposed 15 percent.
  • Increasing the WorkCover Ombudsman’s powers to ensure that employers meet their obligation to provide suitable employment for injured workers. (This will be further strengthened by a new penalty of up to $25,000 for any breaches).
  • Not proceeding with the proposal to provide lump sum payments for psychiatric disability.
  • Provide the WorkCover Ombudsman with a role to require a review of termination decisions.
  • Increase the minimum notice period for cessation of payments from 7 to 14 days.
  • Provide in the Regulations the formula that determines the fees for employers exiting the scheme.
  • No longer making any amendments regarding annual leave.
  • A provision will be included in the Bill that clarifies that medical questions will be referred to medical panels.
  • Amend the WRCA to provide certainty that the WorkCover levy is exclusive of GST both in terms of the levy for registered and self-insured employers.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook