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NSW businesses call for better workers’ comp scheme 

Business NSW says further reforms, including increased oversight and better claims management, are needed to fix the state workers’ compensation scheme. 

The group last week released a report calling for improvement, with businesses remaining frustrated despite a series of inquiries in the past couple of years over the scheme and the way it has been managed by icare.  

“While Business NSW has been gladdened by reforms already passed by the NSW Government, more needs to be done,” Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter told 

Action is needed on refining programs to help employers that are unable to provide injured workers with suitable duties, increasing stakeholder oversight, and improving information and guidance for employers and workers to make it easier to access support and review services, he says. 

The NSW Government has said that the icare board will change, with an employer and employee representative to be added as directors, while icare is publishing quarterly updates on an improvement program and is this year introducing claims-handling reforms. 

Business NSW says the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) reports that 65% of workers return to work four weeks post-injury compared to more than 75% in 2015. 

“It is critical for the state’s economic wellbeing and injured workers that the scheme is sustainable and works for employers and employees,” Mr Hunter said. 

Business NSW says the regulatory framework for the scheme consists of three separate pieces of legislation, adding to confusion for employers and injured works in seeking to understand and comply with obligations. 

“Members are confused by SafeWork NSW inspectors acting as return-to-work inspectors for SIRA and icare undertaking prevention activities as well as claims management activities,” the report says. 

“In addition, those agency representatives who enter the workplace typically have a poor understanding of the needs of the business, especially the regulatory requirements NSW businesses must comply with.”