Late April 2011 is becoming a period of turmoil in the South Australia’s WorkCover Corporation, on top of the government’s political turmoil from the sudden resignation of the Industrial Relations Minister, Bernard Finnigan, and a minister being charged with child pornography offences. According to inDaily on 21 April 2011, WorkCover’s Deputy CEO, Jeff Matthews, and Chief Financial Officer, Ian Rhodes, left the organisation suddenly. CEO Rob Thomson (ex-Workcover New South Wales) says that the positions were axed as part of a restructure.
On 27 April 2011, the most recent review into WorkCover’s operations was released. The March 2011 report finds that the state’s workers compensation scheme
“…shows little evidence of improved return to work performance, in spite of very heavy referrals to and cost of vocational rehabilitation compared to comparable scheme.”
“..there is a lack of active engagement between the case managers and the vocational rehabilitation sector…”
“…return to work outcomes remain poor while the cost of vocational rehabilitation remains high…”
The report, undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers for WorkCoverSA, suggests four options for future structures but the South Australian government has a further option of only looking like doing something while awaiting the national review of workers’ compensation that the federal government plans to ramp up after the OHS harmonisation process has completed. This would be a particularly attractive political option when (not really if going by current political trends) the government changes hands to the conservatives at the next election. The conservative government would gain support from its counterparts in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, if it wanted to join forces against Labor government reforms.
WorkcoverSA’s CEO Rob Thomson has faced a significant challenge in his first year in the job