SA Liberal party policy on WorkCover

It is less than  a month to the state election in South Australia so policies are being released frequently.  This week the South Australia Liberal Party released a WorkCover policy – 18 pages  saying it will “fix Labor’s mess”.

The policy is linked to through this blog article for several reasons.  Many Australia States have elections in 2010 and in most States, the Liberal Party is in opposition.  The SA policy may indicate some of the measures to be promoted in other States elections.

Also, policy statements tend to be quietly dropped from party websites and agenda if they become embarrassing after a loss.  A Labor example of this is the policy on industrial manslaughter that existed for a few years earlier this century.  Many of the unions keep the policy alive for their members but the Australia Labor Party let this policy fade away.

None of the SA Liberal WorkCover policy is very radical.  One pledge is to

“Abolish the monopoly on claims management by having more than one claims manager and reform and decentralise claims management.”

This would match the status in other jurisdictions but the tendering process will be fascinating given the concerns raised about such a process for the existing workers compensation claims system.

What will be interesting is how, if they gain power, they will implement the recommendations and when.  Any reform is likely to coincide with the national (labor) government workers’ compensation reform process, if the Labor Party retains power at the Federal level.

Kevin Jones

2 thoughts on “SA Liberal party policy on WorkCover”

  1. I have yet to see a policy from any political camp that is not flexible or disposable after the election date has passed, so I don\’t think we can really expect any changes to the Workcover mess anytime soon.

    What we do need is absolute transparency in the management by Insurers agents (EML)for example, the use of so called independent medical experts (IME\’s) where it is an open joke that there are certain of these experts who are favored by most case managers because of their known conservative and very narrow views, producing reports that are unreasonable and most definitely unfair and not reflecting the workers true position. Then there are the other medical experts who may have a leaning towards the injured worker which does not suit the case managers priorities and in those cases reports are usually rejected out of hand by the case managers who will rely on their initiated reports only.

    The management of the greater majority is not driven by the need to resolve medical issues but to drive down cost of claims and that is the entire emphasis to the detriment of a great many of our injured workers.

    If there is real commitment to reducing workers compensation costs then we are looking in the wrong area. We have very robust legislation in the form of the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 [Act] that is very poorly applied and given that we have some 70,000 businesses of varying sizes in South Australia who \”MUST\” comply with this Act, yet the greater majority do not have clue one about there obligations and worse, if they are aware of their obligations choose not to comply. They place their workers at known and great risk of injury and perhaps worse, as we have seen with the recent deaths of workers in the home insulation debacle.

    The operation of Safework SA in an enforcement role is pathetic to say the least. The legislation is clear and the penalties are clear. We should have 100 inspectors on the road ready to issue substantial on the spot fines. There is nothing like a hefty fine to educate people and I always thought that the safety of others in your employ was as much a moral imperative as it is a legislative requirement.The liberals would have trouble with this conundrum as they in government, are required to enforce legislation yet it flies in the face of their business constituency – Moral Dilemma – I think, not political expediency will win out and the workers remain at risk, get injured, become financially ruined, commit suicide, have their families destroyed etc. etc. The employers outcome maybe a slight levy increase and a modicum of inconvenience with admin issues and darn it! we have to find another employee.

    The cynicism contained herein is but a small amount that could be expressed, given my close encounters with the system on behalf of injured workers. The system is entirely broken and most definitely not operating in the interests of injured workers despite protestations to the contrary by the Minister and his bureaucrats. They have had a couple of decades to get this right but still only really fiddle on the fringes – PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN THE CURE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES TO EVERYONE –

    I can virtually guarantee that a reasonably well educated workplace inspector could walk into any business on a surprise visit and find at least 5 serious breaches of the OH&S act that should attract substantial on the spot fines. I could gone but I will leave it at this point because it is just blowing in the wind.

    Good luck to all

    1. Tony

      Your comments are certainly not just \”blowing in the wind\”.

      It is very easy in the insurance business to forget the core reason for insurance – in my opinion, the welfare of the client.

      I think too many insurers, and clients, forget, what Wikipedia refers to as, the six principles of insurance:

      \”Indemnity – Insurance is a contract of indemnity where the insurance company indemnifies the insured against certain risks for a consideration known as premium.
      Insurable interest – means the loss of which will directly affect the insured.
      Utmost good faith – means that the insured and the insurance company will not willfully hide anything from each other.
      Mitigation – means the insured will not behave irresponsibly and will take due care so that the risk of loss or the loss is minimized.
      Subrogation – means the insurance company acquires legal rights to act on behalf of the insured i.e. the insurance company steps into the shoes of the insured.
      Causa Proxima or Proximate Cause – means the proximate cause of loss to ascertain whether the loss is covered under the policy.\”

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