- The Workers Compensation Amendment Act 2015 and the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015 – together billed as the ‘2015 Workers Compensation Reform Package’ – received assent on 21 August.
- The main highlights of the package include the introduction of three simplified agencies, increased benefits for injured workers, and premium reductions for employers with good safety and return to work performance records.
- Whilst the legislative changes have brought good news for injured workers, judicial interpretation in the recent case of Cram Fluid Power Pty Limited v Green  NSWCA 250 has been disappointing from the perspective of an injured worker.
Looking at the constant changes occurring in the workers compensation landscape, one might be excused for thinking that keeping up with the Kardashians would be easier – and arguably more enjoyable.
Whilst the recent legislative changes have brought good news for injured workers, the judicial interpretation in a recent case has been disappointing from the perspective of an injured worker.
Just when we were getting used to the far-reaching changes that were introduced in June 2012, we now have the Workers Compensation Amendment Act 2015 (‘2015 Act’) and the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015 (‘SICG Act’), which received Governor’s assent on 21 August 2015. The Acts commence on a day to be appointed by proclamation. Schedule 2 , Schedule 3  –  and Schedule 6 of the 2015 Act commenced on the date of assent. Structural reform under the SICG Act commenced on 1 September 2015.
Following the passage through parliament of the two Bills, the Minister said, ‘Today is a win for both injured workers and businesses across NSW’. It is claimed that a deficit of $4.1 billion has been fixed and that the new system is financially sustainable.
Introduced as the ‘2015 Workers Compensation Reform Package’, the main elements highlighted are:
- Introduction of three simplified agencies: namely, SafeWork NSW, being a risk-based regulator for work health and safety; Insurance & Care NSW (icare), being a customer-focused organisation delivering insurance and care services; and State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), being an independent regulator overseeing all State insurance schemes;
- Increased benefits: payment of medical expenses, certain prostheses, and aids for life for seriously injured workers, increased lump sum and minimum weekly payments, and new financial assistance for return to work, education and retraining; and
- Premium reductions: employers with good safety and return-to-work performance records will be rewarded with 5-20 per cent discounts.