The Cossey Review into WorkCover is extremely disappointing and does not include any recommendations for action, Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“It appears that a lot of money has been spent with precious little to show for it,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Labor Government should immediately reveal the total costs of this particular inquiry.
“In South Australia we have one of the worst performing schemes in the nation in terms of return to work rates for injured workers and levy rates for employers, and this will not be changed as a result of this review.
“What is disturbing from the review is its finding that key data essential for determining whether the scheme is improving are either ‘not being routinely collected or are available only with considerable effort’.
“This is a damning criticism of WorkCover as well as the Minister and Labor Government.
“Employers will also be extremely disappointed that expected reductions in levy rates of about 0.8% (from average levy rate of 3%) have not occurred. In fact, the review concludes that there has been ‘no material difference’ since the legislative changes.”
Other findings in the report include:
• the average time for an opinion from a medical panel has increased from 53 days in 2009/10 to 74 days in 2010/11 (response is meant to be within 60 days)
• short-term improvement in the financial health of the fund has been overwhelmingly due to the use of redemptions up until 30 June 2010 rather than the legislative changes, ie $380 million compared to only $70 million.
• the long-term impact on the financial health of the fund is difficult to predict because redemptions are no longer available for injured workers
• the need for greater accountability of medical panels through an annual report to the Minister