Workcover win for business, premiums frozen under reforms

The WorkCover Scheme Modernisation Bill 2023 passed state parliament after a marathon debate with the Labor Government making significant concessions.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath said after years of mismanagement under Labor, WorkCover was fundamentally broken.

Ms Bath said, “Businesses have been paying the price for Labor’s ongoing mismanagement, waste, and bungling.

“The Nationals and Liberals won the much needed financial relief for businesses, securing a 12 month freeze to WorkCover premiums.

“Last year Victorian businesses were forced to pay an average of 42 per cent increase in the compulsory WorkCover insurance, while taxpayers have forked out $1.3 billion in taxes to prop up scheme over the past three years.

Victoria is the only state in Australia that has experienced a decline in the number of businesses, 7606 businesses have moved interstate or stopped trading last year, it’s an startling figure.

“After speaking with businesses, workers, allied health professionals and return to work specialists we understood a WorkCover freeze was needed to provide financial relief and improved certainty to businesses.”

The Nationals and Liberals secured a raft of other concessions for Victorian businesses and workers which also included an independent inquiry to review the impact of these new reforms on WorkCover, which must report back to parliament by the end of 2024.

Speaking in state parliament Ms Bath said, “It’s the responsibility of a civilised society to create a net for workers who are physically or mentally injured in the workplace and, where possible through support and treatment, a pathway back to employment.

“The WorkSafe ‘Return to Work’ program must be more than a slogan; it must be an action.

“The Nationals and Liberals intervention on WorkCover will see better outcomes for workers and improved transparency for businesses.

“These reforms are well overdue and will hopefully help more injured workers back to work, prevent further costly bailouts at the taxpayers’ expense and help businesses grow.”