A two year parliamentary inquiry by Labor, Liberal and Independent MPs has unanimously concluded WorkCover is the worst performing workers compensation scheme in Australia.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Occupational Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation inquiry, which commenced in July 2010, tabled its final report in Parliament last week.
Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said the Committee concluded:
• The return to work rate was currently the lowest of any state or territory
• The unfunded liability was the highest in the nation
• Other indicators such as high average claim length, high average claim cost and low stakeholder satisfaction ratings also highlighted poor performance
• Rehabilitation services were not operating efficiently even though the use and cost of rehabilitation services was high
In addition, the latest comparison of premiums paid by employers shows WorkCover has the highest rates in the nation.
One of the most damning conclusions in the report is that latest figures show the ‘durable return to work rate’ for injured workers in South Australia was 7 per cent below the national average – 70 per cent compared to 77 per cent.
Durable Return To Work Rate 2010-11
New South Wales: 78%
Northern Territory: 77%
South Australia: 70%
“The Committee also noted the Labor Government’s controversial amendments to the scheme in 2008 were intended to increase return to work rates, and reduce levy rates and WorkCover’s unfunded liability,” Mr Lucas said.
“Clearly there has been no evidence of those goals being achieved, although the Committee noted that it was still too early to measure the final impact of some of the changes.
“The Committee has made a series of recommendations in relation to rehabilitation and return to work for consideration by the Government.
“Sadly, the Committee’s report is a damning indictment on 10 years of Labor mismanagement of the WorkCover scheme.”