04:21 pm, Friday 9 November, 2012
The Hon Greg Pearce
Reforms to the workers compensation scheme have produced benefits. This is according to the Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce who has announced that the WorkCover Scheme Valuation, prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers shows improvement in the deficit, which the Acturary now estimates to be around $1.5 billion.
“Under the previous Government, this scheme was allowed to get deeper and deeper in the red and the deficit would be around $4.5 billion had these reforms not gone ahead,” said Minister Pearce.
“While this projected outcome represents an improvement, there is still a significant way to go to return the scheme to surplus and financial sustainability.
“In June this year the Government introduced far-reaching reforms to WorkCover to provide better outcomes for injured workers, and employers who fund the scheme.
“Small business has also benefitted from the changes, because the Government was able to avoid increasing premiums. Without the reforms, premiums would have had to increase by 28 percent to return the scheme to financial sustainability,” he said.
He also said many of the reforms involving transition of workers injured prior to 1 October 2012 to the new benefits scheme will start from January.
“As the workers compensation reforms are still being implemented, it will take several years until the impact on scheme finances can be accurately determined,” said Mr Pearce.
“An additional $196 million has been allocated to help rehabilitate injured workers and ensure they have adequate medical support to help them return to work.
“The NSW Workers Compensation Scheme has a long history of deficit, having spent only two and a half of the last 16 years in surplus.
“The Government is committed to returning the Scheme to financial sustainability to provide injured workers with appropriate support while ensuring the Scheme is affordable, fair and competitive for NSW.”