|Issue No 20||02 July 1999|
WorkCover Scheme Has Passed Use-By Date
The NSW WorkCover scheme was an Industrial Age approach to workers compensation which has passed its used-by date, NSW Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says.
As the Carr Government this week delayed the transition of private underwriting of the troubled scheme, Costa gave his personal backing to a proposal to break the scheme into smaller industry funds.
Underwriting of the Scheme was to have been transferred to private insurers on October 1 this year, as recommended by the Grellman Inquiry, called in 1997 to look at ways of rescuing a scheme which had been bleeding since the Fahey years.
But the Workers Compensation Advisory Council, made up of union and employer representatives, asked for a 12 month deferral on the grounds that insurers were pushing for higher premiums and benefit cuts, while expecting an upfront profit.
Costa says the next 12 months provides an opportunity to look at more imaginative ways of dealing with the issue, particularly in light of the rapidly changing nature of the workplace.
He says a proposal by the CFMEU, to establish an industry scheme which tailors the collective of premiums to match the structure of the industry may have broader merit.
"This scheme may have gone as far as it can go," he told this week's Labor Council meeting. "It's was a great scheme for the Industrial Age but the complex nature of the new labour calls for an alternate approach."
"Breaking the WorkCover monolith into smaller industry-based tailored schemes will give a greater focus on OH&S, compliance and injury management.
"It's too difficult to do this effectively at an aggregated level."
Trade unions will now meet to look at pursuing alternative models for workers compensation."
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History: A Refreshing Advance
Women workers organising in the NSW Rail and Tramways Department Refreshment Rooms in the 1920s.
International: MAI Back on the Agenda
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International: Courage Against the Odds
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Review: Without You I'm Nothing
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005