Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today another leak of a confidential Weatherill Government Cabinet document was a major embarrassment for Mr Weatherill.
The latest leak relates to a decision taken by Cabinet on 31 October 2016 to transfer the management of all new workers compensation claims from 1 July 2017 to ReturnToWorkSA.
This controversial decision is being strongly opposed by many stakeholders including the Public Service Association (PSA) and Self Insurers of SA (SISA) and affects the jobs of up to 200 people (139 FTE).
A copy of the confidential report presented to Cabinet entitled ‘Review of the Management of Work Injuries within the SA Government’ (Phillip Bentley and Chris Latham, 21 June 2016) has been leaked to the State Liberals.
This report raises very serious questions about the reasons for the Weatherill Government decisions and casts doubt over some of the supposed benefits.
The conclusions of the report include the following:
“However the point remains that there is no evidence in the comparisons that suggest the SA Crown Workers Compensation, taken in its entirety, has been poorly managed in a financial sense.”
“Our general conclusion is that the Crown as a whole has performed well in terms of maintaining control of claims costs. There are no obvious signs of major mismanagement.”
In fact the report also concludes that RTWSA costs of managing workers compensation claims are 39 per cent of claims costs and are much higher than the existing arrangements which are only 28 per cent of claims costs.
It is now clear why Mr Weatherill has been so desperate to keep this report hidden and has refused to release it to key stakeholders.
A senior Treasury source has confirmed that the Weatherill Government did not complete a comprehensive business case before making its decision last year.
The Government also had not calculated what the premiums to be charged by RTWSA would be and therefore there was no way of knowing what the actual costs would be and the impact on the budget.
Evidence given this by the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Ms Ranieri to the Budget and Finance Committee confirmed this information. She agreed that the Government still had not calculated what the premium to be charged to Departments would be and therefore final costs under the new policy could not be calculated.
The details of this report are a damning indictment of the way the Weatherill Government has mismanaged this issue. Whilst up to 200 people do not know if they will have a job after 1 July 2017 the Government is implementing a policy for which they have no idea what the final cost impact will be on the budget.
It is now time for the Weatherill Government to start answering the many questions and concerns that have been raised about this new policy.