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Not working: NSW businesses call for workers' comp review

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The NSW Business Chamber has called on the Treasurer to commission an urgent review of the state’s workers' compensation system following employer complaints about poor practices since reforms were introduced.

“The 2015 reform of the workers' compensation system in NSW was necessary, however the administration of this reform has left a lot to be desired,” chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said.

“We have reports of claims being approved without appropriate checks or investigations, lengthy delays and poor advice and support for both employers and employees.”

Workers' compensation roles are now split between the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), Insurance and Care NSW (icare) and SafeWork NSW.

icare insures more than 310,000 NSW businesses and 193 government agencies, covering about 90% of public and private sector workers in the state.

“The promised efficiencies and professionalism from the split of functions simply haven’t eventuated. Some would argue they have declined and this is why we have requested a post-implementation review,” Mr Cartwright said.

Poor claims management practices are causing lengthy delays in workers receiving necessary medical and rehabilitation services, according to complaints made to the chamber. The system is not working properly and is negatively impacting both employers and employees, it says.

“Premiums are calculated on the time it takes to return an injured employee to the workplace, so these delays are unfairly inflating insurance costs,” Mr Cartwright said.

“Employers should not be left holding the can for the inefficiencies of the claims management system of insurers, health practitioners or the wider workers' compensation system.”

A review could identify where and how the system needs to be improved, and would address a lack of confidence among employers and employees in the administration of the system, he says.