The Newman government has tonight attempted to skirt the work of important Parliamentary Committees by introducting new legislation to change the definition of a worker – threatening to cripple worker’s rights to make claims under the state’s worker’s compensation scheme.
Leader of Opposition Business Curtis Pitt said the Attorney-General had introduced the legislation after asking the bi-partisan Parliamentary Finance and Administration Committee to “review the definition of worker” within the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act, placing greater burden on workers to prove injuries under the scheme.
“Clearly the Attorney General was worried that he might not achieve the result he was after with the Committee,” Mr Pitt said.
“I am the Deputy Chair of the Committee and while I am not speaking on its behalf, what happened in the Parliament tonight with the introduction of this legislation is insulting to the committee system.
“The Attorney General has shown contempt for the committee system and its independent role in undertaking a review into the iconic worker’s compensation scheme.
“Despite the fact there have been 240 submissions to the Committee and 13 public hearings on this issue, the Attorney General clearly thinks he knows better.
“What he and the government are attempting to do is make it more difficult for genuine claimants to pursue their rights and achieve a fair outcome under the scheme.
“Any narrowing of the definition of a worker when there are still some workers that ought to be included under the current definition is just wrong
“Tradies and subcontractors are among those who might lose access to the scheme.
“They are the people who will be defined as independent contractors and not be included in the definition of a worker – and they are the ones who stand to lose.”