Businesses could be spending less on workers compensation under a proposal that would allow companies operating in two or more states to join the federal workers comp scheme Comcare.
The proposal, from Australia Safety and Compensation Council chairman Bill Scales, should force higher competition between state-based schemes, forcing down premiums across the nation.
Occupational health and safety expert Australia Safety and Compensation Commission chairman Bill Scales, says it is difficult to quantify the cost savings from lower premiums as every company’s premium is dependent on a few factors, such as the number of claims they lodged in the past and their industry.
But he points out that many companies are forced to employ separate workers compensation administrators in each state they operate in, so entering the national Comcare scheme will result in cost savings. “The duplication of paperwork required and the internal knowledge needed to work across multiple states means there will be some benefits.”
But some business groups are lukewarm about the proposal. Paul Ritchie from the NSW Business Chamber says the proposal won’t prevent companies having to work under multiple workers compensation schemes. “You are still going to have that ambiguity,” Ritchie says.
Ritchie says federal and state governments need to concentrate on building a national occupational health and safety system before worrying about workers compensation. “Let’s fix the cart before we fix the horse,” Ritchie says. “Creating national consensus on a national OH&S system should be a higher priority than it is.”