Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Campbell Newman had so few policy achievements to talk about that today he sought to take credit for Workcover changes introduced in 2010, long before the Newman Government was elected in 2012.
“The Newman Government is once again treating Queenslanders like mugs on Workers’ Compensation,” Mr Pitt said.
“The decrease in premiums employers will now enjoy is due to changes introduced by Labor four years ago. This sounds like an admission from the Premier that he has no achievements of his own to talk about.
“The only impacts Campbell Newman’s policy changes have had is to leave more workers exposed to long-term financial woes if they’re injured in the workplace.
“It’s widely known that the LNP had a secret deal before the last election to reward big business at the expense of protecting workers who get injured at work, even when they are injured through the negligence of their employer.
“It means that injured workers and their families will be denied the support they need while negligent bosses get off scot-free.
“Labor’s workers’ compensation system that operated until October last year was the best in the country and the reduction in premiums flowing through the system now reflect the continuing benefits, sustainability and affordability of the old scheme. This included a $517 million surplus last year and a 98% return to work rate.
“Today we also find out that the LNP is wiping the insurance history of 93% of businesses, which means employers with poor safety records won’t have to pay more in premiums than businesses that have quality safety records.
“If you have a car accident and it’s your fault, your car insurance increases, so why should it be different for employers? That could simply lead to questions of sustainability for the entire scheme.
“The real questions the LNP need to tell Queenslanders is how many injured workers have been denied access to their legal rights since the LNP imposed their regressive threshold to prevent injured workers receiving support?
“Since the LNP Government ignored their own LNP dominated committee recommendations and literally changed the definition of ‘worker’, how many construction workers have now been excluded from the workers’ compensation scheme and have lost protection?
“Instead of receiving support from their employer, these injured workers will be forced onto the public scheme – just at the time when Tony Abbott is cutting access to disability support and income support for people who lose their job.
“To make matters worse, the Newman Government has now weakened workplace health and safety standards in Queensland, making workplace injuries more likely at the same time as they are taking away support for those who do get hurt.
“Queenslanders were rightly proud of the old workers’ compensation system that was both sustainable and fair. The LNP should come clean with Queenslanders about who is suffering under their changes.”