Bligh's new laws 'will keep workers' compo scheme strong'

WorkCover Queensland will increase average premiums for employers under new laws introduced into State Parliament this week

May 19, 2010

Controversial new laws which will see Queensland employers pay increased premiums under the workers’ compensation scheme have this week been introduced into State Parliament.

Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick says the laws will offset the impacts of the global financial crisis and rising costs associated with common law claims and health and medical bills.

"This suite of changes is fair to both employers and employees," Dick says.

"There will be no restrictions on workers' access to common law compensation claims, while employers will still have the lowest average premium of any Australian state or territory," he says.

Under the changes, WorkCover Queensland will increase average premiums for employers from $1.15 per $100 of wages to $1.30 for 2010-2011.

Victoria, which has the next lowest employer premium costs, currently charges businesses $1.34 per $100 of wages.

Dick says the changes to the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 will align with the Civil Liability Act 2003, harmonising liability and contributory negligence provisions and capping general damages at $300,000.

Damages for economic loss will be capped at three times Queensland Ordinary Time Earnings, or $176,607 a year.

"Workers will still have unchanged access to their benefits under the statutory scheme," Dick says.

"However, claims in the courts will be subject to the new cap, as well as liability provisions. In addition, a court will be able to award costs against a worker where a claim is not successful," he says.

See related QBR stories:

Workers compo premiums to rise, common law rights remain

'Smarter way' to solve workers' compo debt, says industry

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