Workers' compensation premiums lowest in Australia
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is pleased that workers’ compensation premiums in Queensland will remain the lowest in Australia.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said the announcement by Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace will mean the premiums stay at $1.20 per $100 in wages for 2016-17.
“It has been a central element in our state’s efforts to keep our business operating environment competitive,” he said.
“As a result of the impressive performance by WorkCover, Queensland has retained its reputation for the lowest workers’ comp premiums in Australia.
“The stability in premium for 2016-17 enhances the ability of Queensland businesses to compete and is welcome news.”
Mr Behrens said the stability in the WorkCover premium offered a significant reprieve for Queensland businesses operating at a time when many other costs were increasing.
“CCIQ maintains the view that the 2013 reforms, which introduced a threshold for common law claims, brought greater balance to the workers’ compensation scheme in Queensland,” he said.
“Last year these reforms were repealed by the State Government and that fuelled concerns that premiums would inevitably rise.
“CCIQ notes the State Government’s promise given to the small business community in Parliament last year that premiums would not go up as a result of the unwinding of those reforms.”
Mr Behrens said State Treasurer Curtis Pitt last year committed to modelling by WorkCover's actuary PricewaterhouseCoopers over the five years to 2019-20 which demonstrated that, based on current scheme trends, the removal of the common law threshold could be achieved without impacting on the average premium rate of $1.20, given WorkCover's substantial reserves accumulated since 2010.
“In other words the State Government has indicated that it will draw down on the solvency of the scheme to achieve this outcome. CCIQ supports this State Government position in the absence of the common law threshold.
“As anticipated, WorkCover’s solvency has reduced from a funding ratio of 170 per cent on 30 June 2015 to what is anticipated to be 156 per cent by 30 June 2016.
“However it must be recognised that some of this reduction is driven by low investment returns amid substantial financial market volatility.
“It is critical that Queensland retains the lowest workers’ compensation premiums in Australia.”
Mr Behrens said CCIQ would continue to work with the State Government through Minister Grace and Workcover Queensland to ensure the best practice workers’ compensation arrangements for the protection of all Queensland employers and workers.