On May 19th the Queensland Government announced that WorkCover premiums paid by Queensland businesses are to be reduced by an average of 17%, citing the 15 October 2013 amendments as the reason for this change. This means that the average premium rate for businesses will drop from $1.45 per $100 of wages, to $1.20 per $100 of wages.   In response to the Government’s announcement, Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland President, Michelle James, was quick to confirm her disappointment that the Queensland Government had credited the decrease in premiums to recent amendments made to the Queensland workers’ compensation scheme. Specifically, these amendments have implemented a 5% degree of permanent impairment threshold that will result in many workers who are injuries during course of their employment from being able to accessing common law damages as compensation for their injury. More information about the key changes to the Scheme may be found here.   Ms James confirmed that the Government’s announcement “is exactly what concerned groups like the ALA had long attempted to explain to the Newman Government, which their own committee accepted but which the Government chose to ignore”. That is, the Government had actually been advised that a reduction in premiums was possible regardless of the recent amendments because of the previous amendments made in 2010. Ms James continued, “WorkCover’s own figures have always made clear the scheme was in excellent health with low premiums as a result of the 2010 amendments, and that this would continue without having to make any major changes to the scheme”.   Gouldson Legal has taken several steps to provide input both during the community consultation stage and since the 15 October 2013 amendments commenced. Despite our ongoing efforts, Government continues to disregard the substantially negative impact that the amendments have had and will continue to have on Queensland workers. We understand the impact that even a minor injury can have on the employment of injured workers. It is for this reason that Gouldson Legal offers a no-obligations initial consultation to individuals who sustain injury during the course of their employment through no fault of their own. During this consultation, an injured worker will be advised of their best course of action to ensure that their access to both workers’ compensation benefits and common law damages are protected.   One of my colleagues here at Gouldson Legal, Kaine Shanahan, is writing an article to be posted shortly detailing our hands on up to date experience of how the changes to the Queensland Workers’ Compensation Scheme are playing out and what we see occurring with injured workers in Queensland as a result.   If you have any questions or would like to discuss the changes to the worker’s compensation legislation and its impact on you or your family, please contact Gouldson Legal on (07) 3009 7000. Alternatively, you can also submit an enquiry here.  

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