Impact of NSW workers compensation legislation

We examined the impact on injured workers of 2012 legislative changes to NSW workers’ compensation.

Our project reviewed the context for these changes and established benchmarks and methodology for evidence collection to monitor the continuing impact of changes.

The NSW government’s changes to workers’ compensation sought to reduce long-term compensation liabilities. We find that the costs of workplace injuries are shifting from the workers’ compensation scheme to workers and their families, and to federal tax-payer funded safety nets such as Medicare and Centrelink benefits.

Employer premium reductions diminish regulators’ resources to monitor and enforce safe work practices, and erode employer incentives for improvement in injury prevention.

The Centre for Workforce Futures has led public discussion through:

  •   a series of television, radio and print media reports, notably an ABC television 7.30 story on 7 February 2014.  We were subsequently contacted by injured workers wishing to contribute to our ongoing research.
  •  an article for The Conversation, 24 March 2014. It was viewed by 2200 readers and reproduced in eight industry websites including insurance, mining, and law, employer organisations and trade unions.
  •   a submission to a parliamentary review, June 2014.
  •   four articles in highly ranked refereed journals in the pipeline.

Stage one of the project in 2013 was funded by Unions NSW and a Macquarie University Enterprise Partnerships Scheme, producing the report The Impact on Injured Workers of Changes to NSW Workers’ Compensation: June 2012 Legislative Amendments, by R. Markey, S. Holley, S. O’Neill and L. Thornthwaite.

Unions NSW is funding ongoing monitoring of further developments.

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