South Australian aged care providers have ‘run into a brick wall’ with their protest to WorkCover and the state government about massive increases in WorkCover premiums, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Aged & Community Services SA & NT Inc and Leading Age Services Australia-SA Inc lodged an appeal against the decision on 14 December 2012 and have applied for a review of what they argue was an ‘unreasonable’ decision.
Aged care providers have been fighting against these massive increases for almost 6 months and there have been a number of meetings with WorkCover. However, Mr Lucas said his office had been advised that there had been no progress made and there had also been “zero” contact from WorkCover since the appeal was lodged.
“Aged care providers have very legitimate concerns about the industry premium rate and the Experience Rating System, including the method of calculating the industry claims cost rate,” Mr Lucas said.
“For example, LHI Retirement Services, located at Glynde, has advised their levies have increased by a massive $247,000 per year. Matthew Flinders Home at Port Lincoln has been hit with an annual increase of $156,712.
“These aren’t isolated cases. Aged & Community Services SA & NT conducted a survey of 20 members that revealed that 17 members would eventually pay an extra $11.5 million to WorkCover after the transition period had expired. The size of this increase could only be reduced if there was dramatic improvement in the performance of aged care providers.
“Many aged care providers are already operating under very tight budgets, and have said if the Government’s policy isn’t overturned, not only will jobs be at risk, but they will have to reduce services provided to elderly people.
“The Liberal Party has been advised that many aged care providers are so angry at WorkCover and the government they are actively considering the possibility of leaving WorkCover and becoming self insurers.
“Aged care providers run a vital service for some of the most vulnerable of South Australians. WorkCover and the Labor Government should immediately review this unreasonable policy which is threatening the long-term viability of this very important sector.”