GOVERNMENT FINALLY RIGHTING OLD WRONGS, ACCORDING TO BRISBANE LAWYERS
6 August 2015,
CAMPBELL Newman 'fixed' a compensation scheme that wasn't broken to begin with, causing hundreds of Australians to suffer without reparation for workplace injuries, according to Brisbane's Bennett & Philp Lawyers.
Mark O'Connor, an expert in the field of injury compensation and Director of Bennett & Philp, says the Palaszczuk Government has stepped in to undo the grievous mistakes of their predecessors with regards to the WorkCover scheme for injured employees by introducing a bill to Parliament repealing the controversial legislation.
"Our WorkCover scheme was not broken and did not need any interference," says O'Connor.
"The changes had no social or economic basis and flew in the face of a parliamentary committee's recommendations to leave our WorkCover scheme alone."
Workers injured on the job were previously required to meet a 5 per cent bodily impairment threshold before being able to make a claim.
O'Connor says this ridiculous standard which put a stopper in hundreds of legitimate claims is the primary target of the repeal.
"The LNP changes effectively denied many workers injured due to their employer's failings a right to seek common law damages by imposing a claims threshold, which removed to the right for anyone below this level to seek redress," says O'Connor.
"Imposing a 5 per cent whole body impairment threshold on the right to lodge common law claims denied about 50 per cent of potential claims."
Primarily affected by the threshold scheme were those in the transport, public service and building industries who commonly suffer spinal or shoulder injuries in their line of work.
The bill seeks to repeal WorkCover changes backdating to 31 January, giving those who sustained injury on or after the date a chance to seek fair recompense.
Employer costs will remain as they are, which is a winning result considering Queensland had the second lowest premiums in Australia before the changes were originally made in October 2013.
"Repealing the LNP changes without increasing premiums is the right thing to do, it's a win-win for everyone," says O'Connor.